Call the NRC into line - Submissions needed by 3pm, 19 April!!

Dear supporters of GE Free Northland :)

ACTION ALERT: your submissions are needed to the NRC draft Long Term Council Community Plan 2012/22
(deadline 3pm, Thursday 19 April 2012)

please help us achieve sound environmental outcomes and protect our existing valuable GE free status and growing organic industry ;)

Now is the time to influence what the Northland Regional Council does for the next 10 years – with our ratepayer $$$.   NRC is currently asking for your feedback on our Draft Long Term Plan- don't miss out!

In addition to any other environmental concerns you may have (protection of Northland public and conservation lands from mining and so forth, how to better protect Northland freshwater lakes and rivers), it is important that Northlanders let the NRC know that the very short (and rather weak) precautionary GE policy written in the NRC draft LTCP needs strengthening.

Whangarei District Council has an excellent, strong precautionary GE policy in its draft LTCCP 2012/22- NRC needs to lift its game!

Send your submission by 3pm, l9 April to:


by post:
NRC draft LTCCP 2012/22 document
Northland Regional Council
Private Bag 9021
Whangarei 0148

or...if time is too short to post... drop off by hand to your local NRC office (in Whangarei, Water Street)

other quick options:

Fax (09) 438 0012

online submission:

If you have concerns about the risks of Genetically Modified Organisms, and to protect our existing valuable GE free status and growing organic industry, here are some Key points to make will will strengthen the weak precautionary GE policy in the NRC draft LTCCP 2012/ 22

-I strongly support the council having a strong precautionary GE policy, however, I am concerned that what is written in the NRC draft LTP is too short, not strong enough, and contains a couple of mistakes that need to be rectified by NRC.

Whangarei District Council has done an excellent job on the GE issue (in its draft LTCCP 2012/22)
I'd like NRC to lift its game.

-I request that the Northland Regional Council's policy on genetic engineering be made stronger to include prohibiting any trials or use of genetically modified organisms in Northland, at the very least until such time as a truly strict liability regime is put in place and the risks of GMOs are adequately identified and addressed.

-I request that NRC change the wording in the NRC draft LTP to reflect the NRC's own obligations and demonstrate a serious commitment to protect our environment and Northland primary producers from GMO experiments or releases,  not just an inadequate statement as to what the NRC "thinks" the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should do regarding GMOs.

The NRC  (as a full member of the ICWP on GMOs) should be aware of serious problems with the performance of former national regulator ERMA and the new EPA.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have to take a precautionary approach to GE applications (the HSNO legislation does not require a precautionary approach to GMOs from the EPA, and ERMA consistently didn't take a precautionary approach to GMOs in the past).

-I want to see the NRC precautionary GE policy use the correct, full name of the Northland/Auckland "Inter Council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation & Management Options"

I want to see the old wording from our 10 Year Community Plan (NRC adopted LTCCP's 2004/14 and 2006/16) replaced in the NRC LTCCP 2012/122, in the interim until the NRC places (as it promised) a strong precautionary GE provision in the NRC new RPS

-I want to see the wording in the NRC draft LTCCP 2012/22 changed to:

"Council has adopted a precautionary approach to Genetically Modified Organisms /GMOs.  The Regional Council is a member of the Northland/Auckland "Inter Council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation & Management Options" to discuss a common approach to the management of genetically modified organisms in Northland.  Until this group has completed it's work, the council has decided to adopt a precautionary approach to GMOs. This means that there should be no further development and field testing of transgenic organisms envisaged for agriculture, horticulture and forestry in Northland, nor any commercial release, until the risk potential has been adequately identified and addressed, and a strict liability regime put in place.

While the NRC supports a precautionary approach to genetic engineering being taken by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we are mindful that the EPA is not required (under the HSNO Act) to take such a precautionary approach.  The NRC wil submit on any GE applications to the EPA and provide a contingency fund for expert assessment of applications for outdoor trials or use of GMOs in Northland as notified by the Authority ($10,000)."

It is very important the NRC respects the precautionary and prohibitive GE policies put in place by Taitokerau Iwi for their respective rohe, as conveyed to the NRC through the Regional Policy Statement Review process.

In the present circumstances (with strong debate about the GE issue...and the largest # of submissions made to NRC- on any issue raised in the NRC new Regional Policy Statement Review... supporting the NRC's proposed precautionary GE the context of the NRC RPS Review)  there should be in the interim a strong precautionary GE policy in the LTCCP (like there was in the operative NRC LTCCP 2004/14 and 2006/16- this was inappropriately weakened by the NRC during 2009's Review of the LTCCP). 

We were promised by NRC that the strong precautionary GE policy/ provision would be placed in the NRC new RPS, that this was the appropriate place for a strong provision  but NRC has failed to deliver (to date) on this promise


More info:

Whangarei DIstrict Council  has on page l36 (Planning & Regulatory Services) an excellent strong precautionary GE policy

"Council has adopted a precautionary approach to the management of biotechnology, in general, and to GMO (genetically modified organism) land uses in particular. It will continue to investigate ways of maintaining the District's environment free of GMOs until outstanding issues such as liability, economic costs and benefits, environmental risks , and cultural effects are resolved.  Together with other Northland and Auckland councils on the Inter Council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation & Management Options, Council has committed to investigating possible local and/or regional management of GMO land uses under the Resource Management Act."