Everyone who has opposed the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into their districts needs to be alarmed at a sneaky Government move to over-ride local council regulations about this matter.
This applies particularly to Auckland, Bay of Plenty, and Northland council districts.
The Government has inserted a clause (Cl. 6.4) into its latest proposal for a National Environment Standard on Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) which specifically includes a provision permitting afforestation using genetically modified tree stock where it has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996.
This is “legislation by stealth” according to a NZ Herald story of 20 July 2015.
The proposed National Environment Standard on Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) would loosen restrictions on genetically modified pine trees and force councils to remove wording around GMO trees from their policies and plan changes.
Whangarei District Council, Far North District Council and Northland Regional Council are among those that have used the Resource Management Act to put restrictions on the release of GMOs, in addition to those provided under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act.
But this new NES-PF would see councils lose the right to use their Resource Management Act powers to restrict the planting of GE trees.
Submissions on this matter need to be at the Ministry for Primary Industries by 5pm on Tuesday 11 August 2015.
Email to NES-PFConsultation@mpi.govt.nz or
Post to : Stuart Miller, Spatial, Forestry & Land Management
Ministry for Primary Industries
P O Box 2526, WELLINGTON 6140
[Paragraph regarding EPA deleted at request of author]