On Friday, 24 April GE Free Northland and the Soil & Health Association of NZ with 19 other 274 parties sought clarification in the Environment Court on whether there is jurisdiction in the Resource Management Act for local control of outdoor use of GMOs in the face of a challenge by Federated Farmers New Zealand.  
Judge Newhook has reserved his decision, which will be made in the next few weeks.
In 2003 the Northland/ Auckland "Inter Council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation & Management Options" was formed to look at the emerging issue of GMO�s for the whole region. This resulted, after more than 10 years of public consultation, in precautionary GE provisions being placed in the Northland new Regional Policy Statement (RPS).
Before the hearing GE Free Northland spokesperson Martin Robinson applauded the efforts of various NZ councils to put in place a much-needed additional tier of local protection against the risks of outdoor use of GMOs to the regions biosecurity, GE free primary producers, economy, environment, and food sovereignty. 
"Our councils have taken these steps because their ratepayers want a more locally responsive and planned approach than central government requires,� said Mr. Robinson
�Establishing jurisdiction under the RMA would facilitate local involvement in GMO issues and serve to protect existing GE-free primary producers and other ratepayers. We are at an important point in time for the protection of our legal rights and this case is of national significance."
There is a strong possibility that in the next ten years New Zealand will be facing an application for the release of genetically engineered crops. Heavy pressure continues on the NZ government to become a signatory to the no holds barred Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and precautionary provisions must be in place before such an event occurs.
�It is extremely important for Regional Councils to have the power to implement precautionary measures to protect their communities economy by preserving the GE Zero tolerance policy regarding land uses" said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ
"GE FREE NZ strongly supports the stance of Whangarei District Council, GE Free Northland, Taitokerau mana whenua, Soil & Health Association in this case".
Claire Bleakley � 027 348 6731
 ENV-2014-329-000004 http://www.justice.govt.nz/courts/environment-court/documents/noh-24-april-2015-whangarei