When we listen to this powerfully stated interview we can for the first time in decades celebrate the dedicated work of farmers and other primary producers,
activists, local mana whenua and Councillors to make Northland and Auckland region safe from risky outdoor GE experiments and releases.
And yes … this was a major battle.
This is the story about how all councils from South Auckland to Cape Reinga (in response to their farmers/ primary producers and other ratepayers concerns
about outdoor growing of GE/GMOs) took action to defend their region.
Once it became clear (after 2003) that the NZ Central Government had no inclination to fix the serious deficiencies in the Hazardous Substances and New
Organisms (HSNO) Act, local councils acted to put in place a much needed additional tier of local protection against the risks of outdoor use of GE/GMOs.
The deficiencies in HSNO (as identified by Local Government NZ and many councils) include inadequate liability provisions and no mandatory requirement
for the central government regulator (ERMA, now the Environmental Protection Authority) to take a precautionary approach to outdoor use of GE/GMOs.
Councils of Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay took action (in the face of Central Govt inaction) to protect their constituents and the
environment from transgenic pollution/ risky GE experiments.
The councils of Northland and Auckland worked in a fiscally responsible, collaborative manner to create the innovative "Inter Council Working Party on
GMO Risk Evaluation & Management Options", acting on their duty of care under the Local Government Act and the RMA.
The National Party tried to thwart the good work of the councils, with former Minister "for" the Environment Nick Smith's nefarious attempt to amend the
Resource Management Act (RMA).
This was to strip local councils of their authority and jurisdiction, and destroy valuable GE Free Zones put in place by the councils.
But he failed and in April 2017 Parliament (with the Maori Party staying staunch and refusing to support Nick Smith's ill advised scheme) recognised the
right of local councils to create enforceable GE Free Zones (Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017).
Recognition by Parliament of the opportunity to create enforceable GE Free Zones has been enhanced by recent case law (Environment Court and High Court),
affirming that local councils have jurisdiction regarding GE/GMOs and can either ban their outdoor use or make strict controls than the EPA requires
One of the great advantages of Northland is that it is nearly an island, with ocean surrounding 99% of it. There is only a very narrow isthmus that connects
it, being less than 2 kilometres in distance. This is between the Manukau harbour and Tamaki of the Auckland harbour.
Northland is an ideal area to achieve the distinction of becoming a GE/ GMO Free Zone. Auckland City and region (because of its size), can act as the GE
/ GMO Free Gatekeeper.
A great victory, accomplished with the help of Taitokerau mana whenua and other allies. All Taitokerau Iwi authorities have strong precautionary and prohibitive
GE/GMO policies for all their respective rohe, Bombay hills north to Reinga.
Together we are stronger- keep it GE free, naturally 🙂
We encourage you to both listen and share this compelling story of NZ sovereignty.