RMA changes threaten fight against GMOs

"RMA changes threaten fight against GMOs"

9 July 2013  Northern Advocate

by Lindy Laird
Northland individuals, groups and authorities who have fought to protect their backyard from GMO threats may yet find they have won a battle but lost the war if the Resource Management Act (RMA) is changed.

Environment Minister Amy Adam came out recently in support of changes to the RMA that could exclude local government having a role in managing GMO (genetically modified organism) risks. Her comments drew fire from the Auckland and Northland-wide Inter-council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation and Management. Other groups have said that in threatening to shut down local authorities' efforts to protect their territory, Ms Adams was undermining local democracy.

Inter-council Working Party convenor and Whangarei District Council Futures Planning manager Kerry Grundy said although the Government holds that GMOs were most appropriately controlled under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms ACT (HSNO), local authorities were still entitled to plan their own cover, ``provided that this action meets the relevant requirements of the Resource Management Act 1991.''

Dr Grundy said should the RMA be amended, more pressure would come on the national regulator, the Environmental Protection Authority, to take into account local government controls on GMOs.

Communities want 'stricter' GE controls

hurrah for Lawrence Yule, President of Local Government NZ and Mayor of Hastings  District Council, and Mayor Phil Halse of Whangarei District Council, standing up for democracy...the rights of local existing non GM farmers and other ratepayers

(link to Lois Williams RADIO NZ piece that ran last Friday and on Monday morning- brilliant comments by our Deputy Mayor Phil Halse, telling rookie Minister "for" the Environment Amy Adams to pull her head in and have a wee chat to former Minister Nick Smith!

GE Free Northland putting out a Press Release later today, praising the work of our local councils to create an additional tier of protection against the risks of outdoor use of GMOs (on top of what the HSNO Act requires).

Communities want 'stricter' GE controls

Updated at 9:59 pm on 28 June 2013

Local Government New Zealand says communities are asking for stricter controls on genetically-engineered material than those set by central government.

Lawrence Yule.

Lawrence Yule.


Environment Minister Amy Adams believes the Government's controls on genetically-modified trials and releases are strict enough and said she will change the law to stop councils restricting the growing of genetically-engineered crops and animals in their districts.

Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule said on Friday that councils have taken those steps because many people want a more precautionary approach than central government.

Tougher GE rules likely by Christmas

Tougher GE rules likely by Christmas




The Far North and Whangarei District Councils have decided to investigate plan changes enabling them to regulate the use of GMOs after massive protest against it. Michael Cunningham

Monsanto cooks its own goose - and is protected by the US Government.


Watch The Alarming Truths About GMO:

By Dr. Mercola

Monsanto has really done it this time.

As recently reported by CNBC1 and other media outlets,2, 3 an unapproved strain of genetically engineered (GE) wheat has been found growing on a farm in Oregon. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the anomaly on May 29.

As it turns out, the Roundup Ready (i.e. glyphosate-resistant) strain of wheat was developed by Monsanto and field tested in 16 different states between 1998 and 2005.

Northland Regional Council REJECTS all submissions on GE, asking the NRC to include a precautionary GE provision in our new RPS

MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO- and Northland Regional Council's GE decision- this Saturday, 25 March, in Whangarei

GE Free Northland Action alert for this week :)

support the MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO...and the March against the Northland Regional Council's decision on GE

in Whangarei.... this Saturday 

2pm- 3pm, 25th May

GE fungus escapes at Lincoln University

GE fungus escapes at Lincoln University

Officials are investigating how a genetically modified soil fungus escaped containment facilities at Lincoln University, near Christchurch.

The fungus was found in restricted access laboratories and greenhouses on university grounds earlier this month, but the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says does not yet know how it escaped the tighter security.

It believes the environmental threat is very low.

The genetic modification involved adding marker genes to indicate the fungus' presence in research plants.

"At this stage, we believe it is unlikely any potentially genetically modified Beauveria bassiana fungus has spread further," said MPI's Roger Smith.

All samples and plant materials known to contain the modified fungus have been secured. MPI was now checking if any other material may have been inadvertently exposed to the fungus.

Lincoln University assistant vice-chancellor Stefanie Rixecker says researchers had believed they were working with a wild fungus, before it was discovered it had a genetic marker attached to it.

The university took breaches of containment very seriously and the investigation would be very thorough, she said.

The Green Party says the release is a "massive wake up call to our environmental regulators".

"It's absolutely not acceptable that almost two weeks after this breach the ministry still doesn't know how it occurred," said genetic engineering spokesman Steffan Browning.


Crunch time to protect our existing valuable GE free status in Northland


The good news- over 330 anti-GMO original submissions were made by Northlanders and their District Councils to the NRC proposed Regional Policy Statement (the over arching document for Northland for the next 10 years) last December.  These submissions asked the NRC in no uncertain terms to include a precautionary GE policy/ provision (at the very least! ...many submittors prefer outright prohibition of all outdoor GMOs) in the NRC new Regional Policy Statement

Well done! to everyone who made a submission!

The bad news is- both "Federated Farmers of NZ" (headquarters in Hamilton) and the Northland farming organisation that calls itself "Farmers of NZ" (NRC Clr Ian Walker is the President of "Farmers of NZ"!) have made original submissions to the NRC.  The GE section of their submissions oppose the NRC including any "methods, policies or rules" to deal with GMOs on a local level, or even the NRC including a precautionary GE policy/ provision in the NRC new Regional Policy Statement...they also object to the NRC identifying the GE issue as an Issue of Significance for Northland.

The submission by Federated Farmers of NZ...and... the submission by Farmers of NZ (Northland) must be challenged!
It is of grave concern that NRC Clr Ian Walker is both President of "Farmers of NZ", (the Northland farming lobby group who submitted against the NRC identifying the GE issue as an Issue of Significance for Northland) and the Chairman of the NRC Regional Policy Committee (clear conflict of interest).  Clr Walker was instrumental in getting the precautionary GE provision- that the NRC itself proposed in the NRC RPS Discussion Document 2010- dropped from the NRC proposed RPS

GMOs: Councils Consider Prohibiting Commercial Outdoor Uses

GMOs: Councils Consider Prohibiting Commercial Outdoor Uses

Monday, 4 February 2013, 11:59 am
Press Release: Whangarei District Council

Media Release

4 February 2013

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!

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