Clarification of council jurisdiction on GMO sought

GE Free Northland and the Soil & Health Association of NZ with 19 other parties have sought clarification in the Environment Court on whether there is jurisdiction in the Resource Management Act for local control of outdoor use of GMOs.

Judge Newhook reserved his decision, which will be made in the next few weeks.

The Northland/Auckland “Inter Council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation & Management Options” was formed in 2003 to look at the emerging issue of GMO’s for the whole region. After more than 10 years of public consultation this resulted in precautionary GE provisions being placed in the Northland new Regional Policy Statement.

Before the hearing GE Free Northland spokesperson Martin Robinson applauded the efforts of various NZ councils to put in place an additional tier of local protection against the risks of outdoor use of GMOs to local regions’ biosecurity, GE free primary producers, economy, environment, and food sovereignty.

Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ, said it was 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.

GE Free NZ is supporting the stance of Whangarei District Council, GE Free Northland, Taitokerau mana whenua and Soil & Health Association in this case.

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