PO Box 13402
Wellington, New Zealand

GE-Free New Zealand

in food and environment (RAGE Inc.)


Precautionary Provisions on Genetic Engineering are Welcome.


The Northland Regional Council (NRC), after continuing to monitor the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) issue has reviewed its position and, in a meeting on Tuesday 16 June, passed a motion to include provisions in the Proposed Northland Regional Plan regulating the use of genetically modified organisms in the coastal marine area (CMA). [1]

“The result of the NRC meeting is marvelous and very exciting for the Northland Region,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ. “This is the best outcome for the coastal environment, community voice, and cost to ratepayers”

In 2018, The Northland Regional Council called for submissions on whether it should implement precautionary GMO provisions into its Regional Plan and reflect the policy direction of the Regional Policy Statement. [2] The NRC Plan received 83 submissions, of which 82 asked that precautionary GE provisions be placed in the Regional Plan. Only Federated Farmers submitted in opposition.

At a hearing held in Whangarei, submissions 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. [3] In a shocking decision, the NRC passed a motion to exclude GMO's from the plan. [4] This vote went against the majority of submitters, who asked the NRC to implement a precautionary GE/GMO policy in the Northland Regional Plan. [5]

The Whangarei District and Far North District Councils challenged the decision in the Environment court [6] and GE-Free NZ, GE-Free Northland and others joined the legal case as supporting parties. Federated Farmers of New Zealand, Biotenz and Life Science Network (LSN), who all joined the NRC supporting the decision to omit GM precautions in the Regional Plan, withdrew from the proceedings leaving the Northland Regional Council alone in their opposition. After reviewing the situation the NRC has voted to change their position and implement precautionary GMO policies for the CMA.

“We congratulate the NRC on their willingness to reconsider this extremely important issue for the region. The outcome means that with the exception of Kaipara District (KD), from Auckland to Cape Reinga conditional and full release of GMO’s will be prohibited. If the KD Council includes rules in its District Plan all farmers in the north of Aotearoa-New Zealand will be able to farm without the fear of GM contamination.”
said Bleakley

Claire Bleakley 027 348 6731
Jon Carapiet 021 050 7681

[1] http://northland.infocouncil.biz/Open/2020/06/CO_20200616_MIN_2769.PDF (GMO Appeals -6.5- p.16)

[2] https://press.gefree.org.nz/press/20181101.htm


[4] https://www.nrc.govt.nz/media/14638/gmos-decision-option-2-no-new-provisions.pdf

[5] https://press.gefree.org.nz/press/20190716.htm
[6] https://www.nrc.govt.nz/media/15147/wdc-fndc-gmo-appeal-web-optimised.pdf

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