National Party Power Grab Strikes A Rock- Praise for Maori Party

GE Free Northland congratulates the Maori Party for resisting the National Party's attempt to strip councils of their ability to create enforceable GE Free Zones.
The Environment Minister wants new powers under the Resource Management Act (RMA)...

GE Free Northland congratulates the Maori Party for resisting the National Party's attempt to strip councils of their ability to create enforceable GE Free Zones.

The Environment Minister wants new powers under the Resource Management Act (RMA) that he could use to extinguish Whangarei, Far North, and Auckland's official GE Free status.

Last week, the two Maori Party MP's informed the Minister Nick Smith they did not support those powers if they could be used to do away with GE Free Zones.

"We are grateful to the Maori Party for stating their support for GE Free Zones and our food sovereignty," said Martin Robinson, GE Free Northland spokesperson.

"This is fully consistent with the Maori Party's GE Free policy. It would be surprising for the Party to take a different position on this important issue. The 12 December 2016 Maori Party letter to the Minister makes very clear where the Maori Party stands: with our communities," said Mr. Robinson. "All Tai Tokerau Iwi authorities have precautionary and prohibitive GE policies for their respective rohe, from the Bombay hills north to Cape Reinga."

Our local GE Free Zones reflect our communities' legitimate concerns and aspirations and the imperative to protect our biosecurity, unique biodiversity, existing non GM primary producers, and economy.

The powers sought by the Minister to override our local laws are undemocratic and unnecessary, and have no support outside the National caucus. The Minister Nick Smith is looking to the Maori Party for the votes to get these undemocratic provisions over the line.

NZ First recently confirmed to GE Free Northland that it backs the right of the regions to choose. The Party's Environment and RMA spokesman Denis O'Rourke said that "NZ First would not support Section 360D* as it is or other such excesses of executive power" and that it "would always support local choice."

GE Free Northland strongly supports the right of communities to decide whether or not GMOs are released or field-trialled in their regions, and, if so, whether any conditions should be placed on them.

The right of communities to decide was confirmed by the landmark Environment Court decision in 2015 that councils have the power under the RMA to control the outdoor use of GMOs in their regions.

"We appreciate the Maori Party drawing a line in the sand in order to protect local democracy and the GE Free Zones our communities have worked so hard to achieve," said Zelka Grammer, chairperson of GE Free Northland.

"New Zealand has already experienced inadequately contained GE field trials, in breach of the conditions of approval," said Ms. Grammer. "We stand in support of the member councils of the Northland/ Auckland Inter Council Working Party on GMOs, who are acting responsibly on their duty of care to the environment, farmers, and other constituents."

ENDS

Contact:

Martin Robinson, spokesperson GE Free Northland
09 407 8650
022 136 9619

Zelka Linda Grammer, chairperson, GE Free Northland
022 309 5039

  • Resource Legislation Amendment Bill

Dominion Post
19 December 2016
"Maori Party raises concerns over RMA changes which could affect GMO-free rules"
www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/87721555/Maori-Party-raises-concerns-over-RMA-changes-which-could-affect-GMO-free-rules?cid=app-iPhone

Northern Advocate
5 September 2016

Minister eyes law change to end councils' control over GMOs

www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503450&objectid=11703804

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