GENET archive


9-Misc: Voters should challenge New Zealand's councils on GE-freezones

                                  PART I
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TITLE:  Voters' chance to challenge councils on GE-Free Zones
SOURCE: New Zealand Green Party
DATE:   16 Sep 2004

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Voters' chance to challenge councils on GE-Free Zones

The Green Party says the local body elections, for which voting starts
this weekend, are an opportunity for people to ask their prospective
councillors where they stand on legal moves on the creation of local GE-
Free Zones.

Local Government NZ, the Northland councils and Environment Bay of Plenty
are currently involved in a legal advice process on whether and how local
authorities can set rules, including GE-exclusion zones, for any GMO
release approved by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA).

"The councils are not seeking to do their own scientific risk analysis,"
said Jeanette Fitzsimons, the Green Party's GE Spokesperson.

"But they are required under the Local Government Act 2002 to protect the
economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing of their
communities and therefore believe that they may be entitled, or even
obliged, to exclude GMOs on those grounds.

"Although central government has done its best to ensure that local
bodies have no say on the use of GE, some councils recognise they may
have a legal and moral responsibility to seriously consider setting up
GE-Free Zones in their regions.

"Therefore, one of the best ways for local voters to put GE-Free Zones on
their councils' agenda is to elect representatives that fully understand
how this issue is developing and are prepared to really stand up for
their community."

District and city councils control the use of land. If any GE crop is
approved for release by ERMA (so far none have applied) councils could
protect the interests of future land purchasers by ensuring GE crops are
registered on the Land Information Management (LIM) report.

"The LIM is a register of all information the council holds on a
property, which includes risks like instability and contamination.
Prospective owners have a right to know what has happened on the land
they are looking at buying, so the LIM report should also record where GE
crops or animals have been grown," said Ms Fitzsimons.

The Green Party is suggesting voters ask local candidates the following
questions over the next three weeks.

To regional council candidates:
Will you work to protect the region's ecology and economy from the
release of GMOs into the environment?

To mayoral, district and city council candidates:
Will you protect the rights and interests of landowners by ensuring that
any growing of GE plants and animals is registered on the LIM report for
the property concerned?

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  GE risk under scrutiny
SOURCE: The New Zealand Herald
DATE:   13 Sep 2004

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GE risk under scrutiny

Northland councils have agreed to chip in $10,000 each for a report on
risks and options associated with genetically engineered organisms. The
Whangarei, Far North, Kaipara, and Rodney district councils and the
Waitakere City Council will jointly fund the study, which will look at
options ranging from declaring the region GE free to leaving regulation
of genetically modified organisms to the Environmental Risk Management
Authority. The report is expected to be completed by the end of October.


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