One of the largest topical contests over the use of Genetically Modified /Engineered Organisms (GM/GE) is being argued in the Waikato on Thursday 30 January 2020. The issue is of regional importance but also has wider implications for New Zealand's reputation as a food exporter and of safe, sustainable and clean food to international consumers.
The Waikato District Council (WDC) will be hearing submissions as to whether they should be precautionary in response to the push for commercial release of GMOs.  The proposal to place prohibitive provisions on land use of GMOs as a local protection of the region's reputational assets has attracted both opposition and support.
The call for placing GE Free rules in the plan came from a large range of farmers and businesses that rely on the region's GE free status. 
Tainui O Tainui  and the Whaingaroa Environment Defence Society also put in submissions supporting the proposal for the WDC to place provisions that prohibit the release of GMO's into the rural environment of Tainui rohe.
Federated Farmers of New Zealand Incorporated, Life Sciences Network, William Rolleston  formerly the chair of Federated Farmers NZ, and Biotech NZ, have strongly opposed the call for regional protection through GM/GE provisions in the plan.
Already, Hastings, Whangarei  and the Far North District Councils and the Auckland Unitary Plan have adopted precautionary rules. This has helped provide certainty for business that the growing environment for GE-free production and New Zealand's valuable export reputation are protected across these regions.
We believe that we have enough evidence to show that in order to protect the regional economy, community livelihoods and environment from the unknown effects of GE contamination for the Waikato Council to place precautionary provisions in their plan, said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ.
 Waikato District Council Submissions on 8B-GMO hearing
 Organic Dairy Hub https://wdcsitefinity.blob.core.windows.net/sitefinity-storage/docs/default-source/your-council/plans-policies-and-bylaws/plans/district-plan-review/hearings/hearing-b/submitter-evidence/odh-gmo-witness-final.pdf?sfvrsn=b18787c9_2
 Tainui O Tainui https://wdcsitefinity.blob.core.windows.net/sitefinity-storage/docs/default-source/your-council/plans-policies-and-bylaws/plans/district-plan-review/hearings/hearing-b/submitter-evidence/evidence-of-tainui-o-tainui-submission-hearing-8b.pdf?sfvrsn=21ac87c9_2
 Evidence of William Rolleston https://wdcsitefinity.blob.core.windows.net/sitefinity-storage/docs/default-source/your-council/plans-policies-and-bylaws/plans/district-plan-review/hearings/hearing-b/submitter-evidence/life-sciences-network_-hearing-8---gmos-evidence---william-rolleston2077837211.pdf?sfvrsn=196e87c9_2
 Whangarei District Council http://www.wdc.govt.nz/PlansPoliciesandBylaws/Plans/Genetic-Engineering/Documents/Proposed-Plan-Change/Proposed-Plan-Change-131-GMO.pdf
Contact for any queries.
Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027 348 731
Malibu Hamilton 07 825 6824