GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 23rd  March 2004

Councils can make their own rulings on GE

A new report commissioned by Northland councils from Dr. Royden Somerville, QC, a top Resource Management lawyer, shows that councils will have powers under the Local government act to protect their communities from the outdoor commercial growing and field testing of genetically engineered organisms.

"In a case where the government have refused to act democratically, this decision gives the people of New Zealand a chance to stand up and have their democratic right via their councils," said Jon Carapiet from GE Free New Zealand in Food and Environment. "There is evidence that governments around the world are failing to protect the public interest and we are seeing that local government controls are becoming increasingly important. We congratulate Northland councils on their determination to identify ways to protect their communities and environment in a sustainable manner."

In the conclusion it is stated that: "There could be strategic benefits from developing a sustainable development policy under the Local Government Act for inclusion in the long term community plan."

"We have seen over the past few years how these patented GE organisms have got out of hand in the countries where they have been grown to date; and consider that it would be essential that councils support the intent of the RMA by ensuring that both the environment and our communities are protected. We would urge councils to listen to public representation and act accordingly," said Jon Carapiet.

More information :- Jon Carapiet 09 815 3370

The full report is available from Whangarei District Council.
Kerry Grundy
Senior Environmental Planner (Policy)
Whangarei District Council
Private Bag 9023 phone: (09) 430 4200
Whangarei fax: (09) 438 7632

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