01/11/2018

Communities to Council: Please Keep Northland GE Free

 

An overwhelming number of submissions to the Northland Regional Council GMO hearing have backed alignment with Auckland and District Council plans that protect the region's GE-Free status.

The Northland Regional Council has been considering whether it should implement precautionary GMO provisions into its Regional Plan and reflect the policy direction of the Regional Policy Statement.

Submitters from Whangarei District Council, Soil and Health, GE Free New Zealand and GE-Free Northland, Auckland Coalition and individual ratepayers provided compelling evidence in support of a precautionary and protective approach in light of the emerging risks and off target effects of GMOs in the environment.

Expert witnesses included Professor Jack Heinemann, economist Dr. John Small, Dr Pittman, who spoke about Te Ao Maori, tikanga, whakapapa, the mauri of living things and the symbiotic nature to their environment, and Dr Jonathan Latham, who spoke on the emerging evidence of risk from the advanced GE technologies, including the rush for gene editing.

Dr. Shaw Mead spoke on the management of the Terrestrial and Coastal Management Area and the need to have holistic management of the total region, as any GM pollution from the land will infect the soil, water and air.

There were many farmers and business people who spoke about the harm they would suffer if they lost their GE Free status. As has been observed overseas, the introduction of GMOs could increase pesticide use, and collapse ecosystems severely affecting the birds and beneficial insects. Economically it would be devastating for the region.

In contrast Federated Farmers NZ and opposed any local measures to place precautions on GMOs, although there is broad community support for such protections. However, the Federated Farmers NZ presentation lacked evidence to support the claims of safety, and presented an extraordinary misinterpretation of poll statistics.

GE Free NZ is appreciative of the thoughtful and considered questions the councillors asked. It allowed an informative and interactive process that revealed the lie to claims of no negative outcomes from the commercial release of GMO’s.

“We applaud the Regional Council’s move to a special hearing to consider precautions around GMOs and hope that they uphold their communities concerns for protection of a GE Free region.” said Claire Bleakley, president GE Free NZ

Northland region has a growing agricultural market dependent on clean green GE free production.

References:
GE/GMO Hearing Northland Regional council https://www.nrc.govt.nz/your-council/council-projects/new-regional-plan/gegmo-hearings-information/

ENDS:
Claire Bleakley 027 348 6731
Jon Carapiet 021 050 7681

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