GE Free Northland Press Release
13 November 2011


GE Free Northland are delighted by the recent news that Kaipara
District Council voted to join Auckland Council “super city”, Far
North District Council to collaborate with Whangarei District Council
in the investigation of some type local regulation of Genetically
Modified Organisms (GMOs).

KDC Mayor Neil Tiller is the new Kaipara District Council
representative on the  Auckland/Northland  "Inter Council Working
Party on GMO Risk Evaluation & Management Options".

At least four councils are now set to investigate a plan change and
section 32 analysis of GMOs, because of the risks to our biosecurity,
environment, economy, and the livelihoods of existing non -GM primary

Northland Regional Council will vote on Tuesday l5 November 2011,
whether NRC will join in this important work, in keeping with their
official precautionary GE policies.

There is sustained concern in Northland and other parts of New
Zealand, about genetic engineering (GE) experiments and releases in
this country, particularly in view of the documented adverse impacts
of GMOs overseas.

“Nonetheless, central government continues to ignore local community
and independent scientists concerns about GMOs,” said Martin Robinson,
GE Free Northland spokesperson.

"Therefore, the NRC needs to put its shoulder to the wheel and support
its territorial authorities and Auckland Council and contribute
funding to the important current work programme of the ICWP on GMOs".

Whangarei councillors have already unanimously rejected the outdoor
use of GMOs in Whangarei District.  A precedent was also set in l998,
with Auckland City Council achieving outright prohibition of all GMOs
in its Hauraki Gulf & Islands District Plan.  This was put in place at
low cost, without legal challenge, in keeping with the wishes of
Auckland ratepayers' concerns about GMOs.

After lobbying central government for over 7 years to fix the flaws
and gaps in the national minimal legislation* that covers GMOs, local
councils have finally had enough of their concerns being ignored and
are saying NO to the outdoor use of GMOs and YES to protecting the
public interest by building on our clean, green, "Northland Naturally"
nuclear free and GE free brand.

Phil Halse, Whangarei District Council Deputy Mayor, commented:

"It's great to hear that Kaipara District Council is joining WDC,
Auckland Council and Far North District Council  in investigating the
local regulation of GMOs.

This reinforces WDC’s push to keep the wider region free of GMOs,
until such time as a truly strict liability regime is put in place and
the risks to our biosecurity, farmers, and economy are adequately
identified and addressed.

It's highly significant that all the councils from south Auckland to
Cape Reinga (one third of the population in NZ) are taking action on a
local level on their constituents concerns about GMOs.”

Whangarei Mayor Morris Cutforth recently said, “our District is strong
in farming and tourism, two areas that have the potential to suffer
greatly from a GMO trial gone wrong. Reputations take years to build
up and Whangarei is well regarded as a place of clean, green beauty
with a healthy pastoral sector.”****

“It would be short sighted to risk our existing and valuable GE free
status (for which NZ is highly regarded internationally), especially
given the lack of strict liability for any damage resulting from such
experimentation,” said GE Free Northland spokesman Martin Robinson.

“When central government fails to act appropriately, local authorities
have both the responsibility and the jurisdiction to act on their duty
of care to their constituents and the environment, refusing to allow
GE experiments that are harmful or potentially harmful.”

Now is the time for NRC to act to uphold its own precautionary GE
policies and work constructively and collaboratively with its
territorial authorities and the Auckland Council.  The NRC itself
proposed a precautionary GE provision in the NRC Regional Policy
Statement and received the largest number of submissions by Northland
ratepayers in support of this, of any issue raised in the RPS Review.

GE FREE NORTHLAND urges local authorities to put in place enforceable
rules and provisions protecting conventional primary producers, the
environment, the economy and consumers from the effects of GMOs,
working to ensure that the region’s economy and environment is
protected and enhanced by making appropriate changes to the District
Plan, Regional Plan, and Regional Policy Statement (RPS).

The Northland/Auckland peninsula is ideally placed geographically to
achieve this distinction, which would minimise the economic,
environmental, public health and liability exposures from GE release
and experiments.


More information:      GE FREE NORTHLAND
                             Chairperson, Zelka Grammer      09 432 2155
                              Spokesperson, Martin Robinson  09 407 8650


26 October 2011 Kaipara District Council full council meeting
unconfirmed minutes from the 26 October 2011 meeting
(GE agenda items and supporting report by KDC staff member Paula
Hanson available by request from KDC)

*HSNO (Hazardous Substances and New Organisms) Act

**“Lab errors leads to GE leak”
NZ HERALD Sunday 1 August 2010

***“Mutant cows die in GM trial”
NZ Herald, 1 May 2010

“Lab errors leads to GE leak”
NZ HERALD Sunday 1 August 2010

****Mayor Cutforth GE column for Whangarei Report, 28 April 2011