GE FREE NORTHLAND is putting out this alert to let you know that the Auckland Regional Council and most of the territorial authorities north of Auckland right up to Cape Reinga have carried out collaborative community consultation on Genetically Modified Organisms.

Colmar Brunton was commissioned to conduct a telephone survey during late July - mid August to get ratepayers and residents opinions on GMOs.

They will be asking in particular whether ratepayers are satisfied with current national regulation by central government agencies ERMA and MAF (under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996) or whether people would like local councils to regulate GMOs in some way.

Survey participants who advocate regulation of GMO land use by local councils will further be asked their opinion on regulation of GMOs versus outright prohibition.

Engaging in this process is important because the results could be used to justify a pro-or anti-GE stance by councils in the North. We await the results!

GE FREE NORTHLAND strongly supports (in view of the incompetence of central government agencies like ERMA and MAF and the flaws and gaps in the HSNO Act) local regulation of GMO land use.

Our preference is for outright prohibition of all GMO land use and GMO aquaculture until such time as a truly strict liability regime is put in place, the risks are adequately identified and evaluated, credible systems for ensuring the protection of organic and conventional primary production, and genetic engineering shows some evidence of benefit overseas.

To date, GE crops have performed poorly (with a significant yield drag, despite promises of higher yields) and there are growing concerns about adverse impacts on the environment and on human and animal health.

This has always been a debate between those scientists who refuse to acknowledge the growing body of evidence showing that GE is not inherently safe or predictable, and those scientists who are sceptical of GE.

Please note that there will also be a submission process that you can participate in, but this will be after the telephone poll.