Conservationists dispute genetic modification rule (by NRC) in Northland

Flawed Northland Regional Council decision bound for court

23 July 2019

Northland Age

by editor Peter Jackson


"Flawed Northland Regional Council decision bound for court"

Northland Regional Council chairman Bill Shepherd's use of his casting vote to break a 4-4 deadlock over the issue of whether or not to include provisions for the management of genetically modified organisms in the council's proposed regional plan has outraged critics of the technology, who have vowed to fight it in court.

Northland Regional Council's GMO decision and process met with outrage

23 July 2019 Northern Advocate article

"Northland Regional Council's GMO decision and process met with outrage"

by reporter Lindy Laird


Environmental groups and individuals have been scathing about the regional council turning its back on provisions that would prohibit genetically modified organisms being trialled in or introduced to Northland.

At its general meeting last Tuesday, a casting vote by chairman Bill Shepherd narrowly tipped the vote against a GMO precautionary approach being stipulated in the new Northland Regional Plan.

Critics, including at least one NRC member, say the decision was based on processes which were ''flawed'', ''hard to justify'', ''a betrayal'' and ''undemocratic''.

It also puts Northland out of sync with the anti-GMO policies of the Far North and Whangārei District Councils and the super-sized unitary Auckland Council. Small, in-recovery Kaipara District Council has not yet formed a GMO policy.

NRC Clr Mike Finlayson expose: Northland Regional Council hi-jacked by Federated Farmers   


Cr Mike Finlayson: Hijacked by Federated Farmers- 18 July 2019 Northland Age


Many Northlanders share serious concerns over letting loose genetically engineered (GE) organisms into our natural environment. Possums, stoats and wild ginger are but of a few of the 'bright ideas' that have had disastrous consequences. On Tuesday our council voted to let this happen in Northland. I was shocked and dismayed.

"Door open to GMOs in the North" There are fears genetically engineered plants and gene-modified animals could be used if restrictions aren't put in place" "Genetically modified organisms could be released in Northland"

GE Free Northland is furious with Northland Regional Council's decision not to put controls on genetically engineered plants (GE) and gene-modified animals.

The grassroots organisation - which in 2000 was backed by a 7000-name petition calling for Northland to be GE free - fears genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could now be used in the area.

Chairwoman Zelka Grammar said without restrictions, the likes of genetically engineered salmon - which were found to mutate in a South Island trial - could be introduced in a marine farm anywhere in Northland.

GMO-free policy not in North's draft air, water, soil, coast plan






There could be a small break in the ring fence meant to keep genetically modified organisms out of Northland's environment and primary sector.

The decision has groups who vehemently fought for 10 years for that GMO-proof fence now criticising the Northland Regional Council's decision to exclude its strong Regional Policy Statement (RPS) on GMOs from its proposed Regional Plan.

A year after no-to-GMO policies became operational in Whangārei and Far North Districts' and NRC legislation, the NRC failed to copy over its stance to its new environment plan.

The overarching Regional Plan — the draft of which received 360 submissions overall — will encompass, replace and update three outdated water and soil, air and coastal plans. More than 100 of those submissions referred to the GMOs subject.

GE Free Northland ACTION ALERT- submissions needed in response to Northland Regional Council draft Long Term Plan 2018-28

GE Free Northland Action Alert

There is an opportunity to make submissions in response to the Northland Regional Council draft Long Term Plan 2018-28.

The NRC needs your feedback to make decisions for the Long Term Plan 2018-2028, which is supposed to reflect community aspirations and wishes, and set policy direction for NRC.

The NRC inappropriately removed the highly important strong precautionary and prohibitive GE policy from the operative NRC Long Term Plan a few years ago (without any public consultation or legitimate reason).

Please make a submission to NRC (in addition to any other points you wish to raise) urging the NRC to replace the important precautionary and prohibitive GE policy (that was in various NRC Long Term Plans since the 2004-14 LTCCP) and the $10,000 contingency fund (in the event of any EPA approved outdoor GE applications for Northland). Please ask to be heard (you can change your mind, or give your speaking time to someone else. It ensures you are kept informed by NRC).
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