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Can we keep local control over GE?

Published: Wed 22 Apr 2015 11:39 AM
Can we keep local control over GE?
Genetic engineering is again in the spotlight as the Soil & Health Association of NZ and GE Free Northland lead a group of interested parties in support of Whangarei District Council and Northland Regional Council in the Environment Court this Friday.
Federated Farmers of NZ lodged an appeal with the Environment Court, opposing precautionary provisions for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the Proposed Northland Regional Policy Statement.
This Friday’s hearing is set to hear argument on the preliminary question of whether local authorities can plan for the use of GMOs under the Resource Management Act.
Soil & Health, working in partnership with GE Free Northland, seeks confirmation of their view that the Resource Management Act allows for local authority planning documents to manage the outdoor use of GMOs.
“Soil & Health represents 3000 members, plus consumers and producers, both organic and conventional, who want a planned approach to GE that is integrated with the sustainable use and protection of other resources,” says Marion Thomson, co-chair of Soil & Health. “We support the right of local bodies to manage any potential use of GMOs in their area.”
Soil & Health and GE Free Northland have coordinated 12 other section 274 parties to present a joint case in the jurisdiction hearing on Friday.
In the 2013 case Scion vs Bay of Plenty Regional Council, the Environment Court allowed the Council to retain reference to GMOs in its Regional Policy Statement. Soil & Health also took a lead role among a group of section 274 parties (submitters) in support of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s retention of precautionary GMO references.
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