GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 16th November 2005

New Report Sounds Warning Bells for Local Authorities

Regional and local authorities will have to protect their local economies from negative impacts of GE organisms or risk major costs falling to ratepayers under the government's current system for regulating GE organisms.

Today's release of the "Risk Evaluation and Options Report", as commissioned by Waitakere City Council, Rodney, Kaipara, Whangarei and Far
North District Councils, is a timely warning for local government and conservation bodies throughout New Zealand.

The report examines in greater depth the risks to local authorities and their communities posed by centralised decision-making out of Wellington
where ERMA will decide on GMO releases to the environment.

Under existing legislation in New Zealand, an approval by ERMA effectively acts as a a publicly-funded subsidy for GE companies when things go wrong and contamination of land or loss of markets results. Without strict liabilty on the users and promoters of GE organisms, the downstream costs are set to fall to taxpayers and ratepayers through central and local government.

GE FREE NZ ( in food and environment) encourages all local authorities to work together to prevent the unreasonable imposition of these costs on the public and to ensure their regional economy and environment is protected through changes to the District Plan and Long Term Council Community Plan.

Local Government NZ should also be prepared to act on behalf of its members to ensure central government do not follow US authorities in
attempting to deny local communities a say in keeping their region GE-free by excluding them from the statutory decision-making process.

There is no denying that New Zealand benefits enormously from being able to market produce as 100% GE-free and many regions are ideally placed
geographically to achieve the distinction of a Regional Exclusion Zone for GMOs. Co-existence of GE-free and GE production is now being shown
overseas to be either impossible or unacceptably costly to all farmers as they struggle to change long-established farming methods to battle

Ultimately a nation-wide Exclusion Zone is the best way for the Labour led government to protect primary exports for New Zealand, and meet the
concerns of scientists, local authorities and our key markets, as well as the majority of New Zealanders.


Jon Carapiet 0210 507 681

For further information, contact: Zelka Grammer, Chairperson
GE FREE NORTHLAND (in Food & Environment)
09 432 2155

Dr. Kerry Grundy, Team Leader, Monitoring
Whangarei District Council
09 430 4200

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