The National Govt is planning to over-ride current district council rules forbidding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or Genetic Engineering (GE) being brought into Northland.
It intends via the Ministry for Primary Industries to change forestry regulations to allow GE trees anywhere in NZ and over-ride NZ councils precautionary and prohibitive GE policies in local plans.
Submissions to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) proposal need to be made by 5pm Tuesday 11 August 2015.
The consultation document “A proposed national environmental standard for plantation forestry” is at www.mpi.govt.nz/nes-pf
The Labour Electorate Committee in Whangarei (Whangarei LEC) says the implications for Northland and Auckland, where all councils from the Bombay hills north to Cape Reinga have precautionary or prohibitive Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) policies, are huge, and there is not much time for people to act.
The Whangarei LEC says people in Whangarei have fought to keep their region GE-Free for many years. Along with the Whangarei and Far North district councils they recently won a major battle in the Environment Court to have the Northland Regional Council’s policy statement include precautionary principles about GMOs and GE plants and trees. Federated Farmers are now appealing this decision which will see local people and the local councils once again being forced into a costly legal defence of their positon.
The MPI now intends to replace councils’ existing district and regional plan rules for managing plantation forestry (which include the precautionary GE principles) with a “nationally consistent approach responsive to local environments”. They want to “ remove unwarranted variations” between local councils’ planning controls for plantation forestry.
The MPI proposes a new National Environmental Standard (NES) for plantation forestry which will allow GMO trees to be planted in NZ forests.
The Whangarei LEC says this move is seriously sneaky as it over-rides local government authority, and the wishes of local people to live and work in a GE-free district, and gives people very little time to object to this proposal.
The Whangarei LEC has organised a public meeting for Friday 31 July 5.30pm at the Cafler Lounge, Forum North, Whangarei for people to discuss this matter with Te Tai Tokerau MP, Kelvin Davis.
Press Release: Whangarei Labour Electorate Committee