ACTION ALERT protect our existing valuable GE free status- have yr say NRC proposed RPS document missing the precautionary

Do you want to protect Northland's existing valuable GE free status? 

Do you want the Northland Regional Council to retain their precautionary GE provision (policy)?

Would you like an over arching precautionary policy for the region, to address various environmental threats like GMOs and mining?

10 minutes action now, lobbying Northland Regional Council through your written submission,  can help protect our region from GMOs... and ...achieve NZ"s first enforceable Regional Exclusion Zone for GMOs


Northland Regional Council has released the NRC proposed Regional Policy Statement (RPS), the over arching document for the next 10 years for Northland region.

The document has a glaring omission- - it is missing the council's own precautionary GE provision (policy) that you, the ratepayers, have already supported through a multitude of submissions during the informal stage of the NRC Regional Policy Statement review

Submissions close Monday, 3 December 2012, 5pm (see below for details on how to make a submission- it's easy!)

Have your say - Proposed RPS

The Proposed Regional Policy Statement for Northland – which includes proposed maps of Northland’s outstanding areas and coastal land – is now out for public consultation.  This is your opportunity to achieve sound environmental and economic outcomes on a range of important issues.

the NRC says on their website: "We want your views to know if we’ve got it right."  

On the specific GE issue, the NRC has got it badly wrong!

The valuable precautionary GE provision (policy) has mysteriously "disappeared", for no good reason.

The NRC has inappropriately removed the precautionary GE provision that the NRC itself proposed in 2010 and which had the largest number of supportive submissions from Northland ratepayers - of any issue raised in the NRC Regional Policy Statement review to date.

The NRC is supposed to have a strong precautionary GE policy. A weak version of this is in the new NRC adopted "Long Term Council Community Plan 2012/22" -the NRC having weakened the 10 Year Community Plan's precautionary GE policy in 2009 during the review of the Long Term Plan. The NRC tried to justify the change by assuring Northland ratepayers and territorial authorities back in 2009 that the place for a strong precautionary GE Policy was a provision in the NRC Regional Policy Statement.

So, where is the precautionary GE provision (policy) in the NRC proposed RPS document)? The Ge/GMO issue is only mentioned in the NRC "Issues Not Included" document (a separate document that the NRC is charging for Northlanders to purchase!).

GE Free Northland, a key stakeholder in the NRC RPS Review, has carefully gone through this deeply flawed document, and identified serious problems with the methodology, misrepresentations of fact, and flawed conclusions by the NRC regarding the GE issue.  There are inaccurate and misleading paragraphs in the GE section, and it is claimed that the GE issue isn't an Issue of Significance for the region. This is ludicrous considering that every single council from Auckland to Cape Reinga is a full member of the "Inter Council Working Party on GMO RIsk Evaluation & Management Options", whose work programme is to create an additional tier of protection against GMOs for the region, on top of national legislation under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act.

In other words, the NRC covers the same geographical region and ratepayers as does Whangarei, Kaipara and Far North District Councils.  The GE issue is an Issue of High Significance for all Northland territorial authorities. Therefore, GE is an Issue of High Significance for Northland region.  We note that all Taitokerau Iwi authorities have identified GE/GMOs as an Issue of Significance for them, for economic, environmental, cultural and spiritual reasons.

It is the opinion of GE FREE Northland and Whangarei District Council that the assessment of GMOs in the environment as an issue to be addressed in the RPS for Northland did not meet the requirements of the RMA, was based on inappropriate methodology, was incomplete, and as a consequence was inadequate and came to an incorrect conclusion.

The WDC and GE FREE NORTHLAND request that this issue be re-considered and that the management of GMOs be included in the RPS as a regionally significant resource management issue.

Please ask in your submission for the NRC to reinstate the precautionary GE policy (provision) of council, that the NRC itself proposed in the NRC RPS Discussion Document 2010 and which received the largest number of submissions- on any issue raised to date in the NRC RPS Review- supporting that proposal

This is now the statutory (formal) process and independent commissioners will view your submission.  Have your say!

Please see the attached 1 page A4 document.

More information: ring 09 432 2155 (Whangarei) or  09 406 8650 (Kerikeri)

cheers :)

Zelka Grammer
Chairperson, GE FREE NORTHLAND in food & environment
Maungakaramea, Whangarei

It is critical that the omission of the NRC's and the community's precautionary GE provision (policy)  is rectified by the NRC as soon as possible.

Send your completed submission to:

via post:

Proposed RPS
Northland Regional Council
Freepost 139690
Private Bag 9021, Whāngārei Mail Centre
Whāngārei 0148

or drop off by hand to your nearest NRC office

via Fax: 09 470 1202

online (make sure you save a copy of what you submit for your records)

heres a link to the NRC submission form (or you can pick up one at your local NRC office)


State that you oppose the removal of the important precautionary GE provision (policy) in the NRC proposed RPS.  State that you consider the GE/GMO issue and Issue of Significance for Northland.

Other key points for those concerned about GMO's to make to the NRC...

We ask the NRC to:

1. place (at the very least) a strong precautionary GE provision in the NRC new RPS.  If you prefer outright prohibition of GMOs until such time as a truly strict liability regime is put in place and the risks of GMOs are adequately identified and addressed, do state that, but remember to ask for the reinstatement (at the very least) of the precautionary GE provision/ policy.

2. honour the council's statutory obligations under the RMA to articulate the Issues of Regional Significance for Northlanders and their District councils, of which GE is one.  Ask for the NRC to add to the list of Issues of Significance for Northland the GE issue.  An issue of significance: an issue of concern to the people of the region.

3. honour the council's statutory obligations under the RMA to articulate the issues of Regional Significance for Taitokerau Iwi authorities (and treat the Iwi Management Plans submitted with respect)

4. reconsider the GE Issue and ask that the management of GMOs be included in the RPS as a regionally significant resource management issue. Furthermore, that objectives, policies and methods be included in the RPS to address environmental, economic (including liability for harm), social and cultural risks arising from the release of GMOs to the environment.

5. place an overarching precautionary policy in the NRC new RPS, similar to what Environment Bay of Plenty Regional Council has placed in its Regional Policy Statement  (wording below)

from the Introduction of Bay of Plenty Regional Council proposed RPS
(proposed by BOPRC and retained as of 3 October 2012_

"1.7 PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE: The ability to manage activities can be
hindered by a lack of understanding about environmental processes and
the effects of activities. Therefore, an approach which is
precautionary but responsive to increased knowledge is required.
Although those intending to undertake activities seek certainty about
what will be required of them, when there is little information as to
the likely effects of those activities, public authorities are obliged
to consider such activities on a case-by case basis. In regional and
district plans, such activities should generally be provided for as
discretionary or non-complying. Any resource consent granted in such
circumstances should be subject to whatever terms and conditions are
necessary to avoid significant adverse effects on the environment.

The existence of genetically modified organisms in the environment has
generated community concern. Of particular concern is the placement
and location of trial and containment facilities. The Bay of Plenty
Regional Council promotes a precautionary approach to the release,
control and use of genetically modified organisms within the region.
The precautionary approach is a necessary response to unresolved
issues of potential liability, environmental risks, economic costs,
and cultural and social effects. The Hazardous Substances and New
Organisms Act 1996 contains specific legislation for managing
genetically modified organisms. These legislative functions are
carried out by the Environmental Protection Authority. Current
legislation may be inadequate to manage potential adverse effects from
the use of genetically modified organisms in the region"


general "overarching" precautionary policy (proposed by BOPRC and retained in Bay of Plenty  Regional
Council proposed RPS document as of 3 October 2012)

'Policy IR 1B:  Applying a precautionary approach to managing natural
and physical resources

Apply a precautionary approach to the management of natural and
physical resources, where there is scientific uncertainty and/or a
threat of serious or irreversible adverse effects on the resource and
the built environment.  Such activities should be classified as
discretionary or non-complying activities in regional and district

There is a lack of complete information and understanding about some
natural and physical resources, and their use and development.  A
precautionary approach requires that any adverse effects can be
identified and understood and any activity is carried out at a level
or rate that adequately considers the risk of operating with imperfect
information.  Where appropriate, the precautionary approach may
include an adaptive management approach.'