New Zealand

Minister Amy Adams showing disrespect for the good work of local councils

Minister showing disrespect - GE Free

15 August 2014 

 

Campaigners are denouncing the Environment Minister for opposing efforts by councils to create genetically-engineered free zones.

www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/252266/minister-showing-disrespect-ge-free

 

High Court Prevents GM Developers Bypassing GM Laws

High Court Prevents GM Developers Bypassing GM Laws

      Media Statement, May 22 2014  Sustainability Council of NZ
 
The High Court has quashed a decision by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) that would have allowed developers of genetically modified crops to bypass New Zealand’s GM laws.
 
The Court found the EPA misinterpreted the law when it decided that GMOs from two new breeding techniques could go into New Zealand fields without any formal consultation or assessment of the impacts.  The EPA was also criticised for failing to act cautiously in the face of uncertainty. 
 

Overwhelming support for local decisions on GM free status- National Poll

 Pure Hawke's Bay is a group of primary producers (conventional, IPM and organic) in Hawke's Bay committed to retaining their existing valuable GE free status, and continued access to key markets and premiums for GM free produce

Overwhelming Support for Local Decisions on GM Free Status: National Poll

Four out of five New Zealanders think councils should be able to keep their districts GM Free using local plans, according to a Colmar Brunton poll.

The poll was commissioned by Pure Hawke’s Bay, a group of premium food producers who are asking councils in the region to secure Hawke’s Bay’s GM free status through local plans.

Earlier this year, the Government announced its intention to change the law to prevent the regions from doing so. But 79% of New Zealanders participating in the national poll said that councils should be able to use the RMA to prohibit GM releases in their territories.

The response shows that the Government is way out of step with New Zealanders, says Bruno Chambers of Pure Hawke’s Bay.

Several councils – including Hastings, Whangarei, Far North and Auckland City – are proposing to use local plans to protect their regions from GMO releases, with strong backing from their communities.

79% want councils to have power over GM crops, Colmar Brunton poll

RADIO NZ programme

79% want councils to have power over GM crops - Colmar Brunton poll

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/229508/79-percent-want-councils-to-have-power-over-gm-crops-poll



A group opposed to genetic modification has released a poll showing almost 80% of respondents want councils to retain the power to create GM-free zones.

The phone survey of 1000 people was commissioned by Pure Hawke's Bay and carried out by Colmar-Brunton.
Under proposed changes to the Resource Management Act, central government rather than councils would have the power to decide where GM crops can be grown.

However, Pure Hawke's Bay says 79% of the people surveyed want decision making powers to stay with the councils.

Spokesperson Bruno Chambers says GM free products command a premium price and the group wants GM-free zones so farmers can grow unmodified crops with less risk of contamination.

The survey has a plus or minus margin of error of 3.1%.

Listen to more from Bruno Chambers on Morning Report

Comvita adds voice to GE trials caution

Comvita adds voice to GE trials caution

By John Cousins      Bay of Plenty Times

8:30 AM Friday Nov 29, 2013 
  •   www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11164655
Cultural consultant Buddy Mikaere is standing for a tougher council stance on genetic engineering. Cultural consultant Buddy Mikaere is standing for a tougher council stance on genetic engineering.

One of the Bay's biggest exporters Comvita has backed moves to single out genetic engineering as deserving a "precautionary approach" by the region's environmental watchdog.

The Paengaroa-based company joined seven others in the Environment Court yesterday to fight a bid by the New Zealand Forest Research Institute (Scion) to stop the the Bay of Plenty Regional Council adopting a cautionary stance toward GE field trials.

Comvita, whose honey exports of $80 million rely on New Zealand's clean green image, has highlighted the huge financial impact if a GE organism was released into the environment.

Scientists, activists, orchardists, organic farmers and Maori culture united to support the council which wants to signal its concern about the risks from genetic modification trials in its regional policy statement.

Scion has challenged the validity of the council singling out genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as warranting a precautionary approach.

But the council stopped short of elevating GMOs to a "matter of significance" which would have had a flow-on effect into its planning documents by the introduction of specific rules.

GM stance deepens divisions

"GM stance deepens divisions" 
by Jamie Ball
STRAIGHT FURROW   10 September 2013     (front page)

Federated Farmers of NZ is "clearly out of touch with markets" in their opposition to councils' plans to introduce tighter regulation for genetically modified organisms, says Pure Hawke's Bay (PHB) spokesman Bruno Chambers.

Mr. Chambers said the PHB coalition of regional food producers seeking to improve the region's global reputation for safe, sustainable, high quality food production had proposed securing GM free food producer status through local authority planning, for l0 years.

"We had a meeting with the President, Bruce Wills, who said that Federated Farmers would not stand in the way of the Pure Hawke's Bay initiative, so it surprises me that Federated Farmers are taking the position they have."

"They are basically out of touch with the markets. NZ relies on premium markets- our future is not with low-price commodity markets," he said.

Environment Minister Amy Adams recently announced that hazardous substances and new organisms were comprehensively regulated on a national basis and councils should not use the Resource Management Act (RMA) to set up their own independent regulatory frameworks.

However, like some other regions, the Hawke's Bay coalition believes that the Environmental Protection Authority has no mandate to protect regions, regional rands or regional returns.

Mr. Chambers said it was a pity that the federation's representative on the subject, Wililam Rolleston, was entrenched in an ideological position.

Communities want 'stricter' GE controls

hurrah for Lawrence Yule, President of Local Government NZ and Mayor of Hastings  District Council, and Mayor Phil Halse of Whangarei District Council, standing up for democracy...the rights of local existing non GM farmers and other ratepayers

(link to Lois Williams RADIO NZ piece that ran last Friday and on Monday morning- brilliant comments by our Deputy Mayor Phil Halse, telling rookie Minister "for" the Environment Amy Adams to pull her head in and have a wee chat to former Minister Nick Smith!

GE Free Northland putting out a Press Release later today, praising the work of our local councils to create an additional tier of protection against the risks of outdoor use of GMOs (on top of what the HSNO Act requires).

www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/138819/communities-want-%27stricter%27-ge-controls

Communities want 'stricter' GE controls

Updated at 9:59 pm on 28 June 2013

Local Government New Zealand says communities are asking for stricter controls on genetically-engineered material than those set by central government.

Lawrence Yule.

Lawrence Yule.

RNZ

Environment Minister Amy Adams believes the Government's controls on genetically-modified trials and releases are strict enough and said she will change the law to stop councils restricting the growing of genetically-engineered crops and animals in their districts.

Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule said on Friday that councils have taken those steps because many people want a more precautionary approach than central government.

GE fungus escapes at Lincoln University

GE fungus escapes at Lincoln University

Officials are investigating how a genetically modified soil fungus escaped containment facilities at Lincoln University, near Christchurch.

The fungus was found in restricted access laboratories and greenhouses on university grounds earlier this month, but the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says does not yet know how it escaped the tighter security.

It believes the environmental threat is very low.

The genetic modification involved adding marker genes to indicate the fungus' presence in research plants.

"At this stage, we believe it is unlikely any potentially genetically modified Beauveria bassiana fungus has spread further," said MPI's Roger Smith.

All samples and plant materials known to contain the modified fungus have been secured. MPI was now checking if any other material may have been inadvertently exposed to the fungus.

Lincoln University assistant vice-chancellor Stefanie Rixecker says researchers had believed they were working with a wild fungus, before it was discovered it had a genetic marker attached to it.

The university took breaches of containment very seriously and the investigation would be very thorough, she said.

The Green Party says the release is a "massive wake up call to our environmental regulators".

"It's absolutely not acceptable that almost two weeks after this breach the ministry still doesn't know how it occurred," said genetic engineering spokesman Steffan Browning.

GM free means good sales for NZ

GM-free means good sales for NZ

STEPHANIE HOWARD

Hawke's Bay Council is supporting push for GE free status

Council is supporting push for GE status

Hawke’s Bay took one step closer to establishing a genetic engineering-free food status for the region when the Hastings District Council expressed support for the vision, writes Lawrence Gullery of Hawke’s Bay Today. 

Pure Hawke’s Bay presented to the Hastings Council’s long-term plan hearing this week to put its case forward for a GE-free district and the council responded by voting unanimously in support of the proposal.

The council was keen to join Napier in declaring itself GE-free but wanted to take the concept a step further, writing it into its district plan to give it some legal clout.

The idea is to protect the growing soils of the Heretaunga Plains which supports the region’s primary and horticulture economy.

The council was also keen to become a national leader of the GE-free movement rather than wait for the Government to come up with a national policy. Currently only Whangarei is moving in the GE-free direction.

The status would give food producers a point of difference when marketing overseas and put tighter rules around applications for GE crops to be grown in the district.

Pure Hawke’s Bay said it was not “anti-science” but believed research around GE foods should be restricted “to the labs” and not grown out in crops in New Zealand.

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