16/03/2017

Maori Party Must Protect Future of GE-free Regions

 

The second reading of the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill passed with the conditional support of the Maori Party.

The future of New Zealand’s GE-free production zones now hangs in the balance, and it is to be seen when the Bill is debated clause by clause whether the Maori Party will protect this kaupapa.

The Maori Party have in their hands the survival of regional legal protection that the Minister plans to abolish. They must not be deceived into supporting this betrayal of democratic process and the economic advantage of GE-free production.

Labour, Green, and NZ First speakers spoke out against the amendments and warned that the undemocratic powers the Bill proposed left councils and communities without a voice.

The Maori Party also warned their support was conditional on agreements that will protect GE-free zones from ministerial powers that will abolish them.

Speakers warned of the dangers of giving executive powers to the Minister but seemed to be blindly unaware of a minor clause inserted by the select committee under 43A (3A) and 43(3B) that places a hazardous substance or GMO as a permitted activity if it has been approved under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996.

The implications are that costs of harm will be carried by the community, for contamination causing economic loss and environmental pollution.

The addition of this new clause is underhand and deleterious to democracy. It is a replica of the 6.4 clause in the stalled National Environment Standard on plantation forestry (NES-PF). This received 16,000 submissions to the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) that called for the removal of clause 6.4 and supported councils in their right to regulate land use provisions on GMOs.

“The government has acted in bad faith as Nick Smith never intended to fulfill the legal or contractual obligations of consultation,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ.

“Smith’s Ministry has misled submitters by entering into an agreement without the intention to abide by the outcome."

"The Maori Party must stand up to the Minister’s bullying and subterfuge."

“The clauses 43A (3A) and 43(3B) are a dishonest and despicable late insertion into a bill.”

References:

https://www.parliament.nz/en/watch-parliament/ondemand?itemId=180478

https://www.parliament.nz/en/watch-parliament/ondemand?itemId=180476

https://www.parliament.nz/en/watch-parliament/ondemand?itemId=180477

Ends

Claire Bleakley 06 308 9842 / 027 348 6731

Jon Carapiet 021 050 7681

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