The Green Party is calling for Environment Minister Amy Adams to back off from her threats to strip councils of their power to regulate for genetic engineering in their communities.
The New Zealand Herald today reported that the Minister is investigating how to change the law to stop councils from putting in place controls on genetic engineering (GE) in their communities.
“These councils have established that our current regulations don’t adequately cover them or farmers in the event of a GE contamination and they need to step in and provide those protections,” said Green Party GE spokesperson Steffan Browning.
“So what is this Government’s response? Same as usual, change the law to take away local democracy.
“The controls that councils are putting in pace would place the responsibility, accountability, and liability on the person or company growing the crops, which is where it should be.
“This is how nuclear-free New Zealand started, with local councils taking the stand their community wanted them to take and that is a stance that the whole country is very proud of now.
“This Government wants to strip local councils of their ability to regulate what happens in their own regions.
“Without adequate regulation from central government the burden of risk for GE is placed entirely in the wrong place; on GE-free farmers whose crops have been contaminated from neighbouring GE farms, and on the councils themselves.
“It’s entirely rational for a council to ask GE growers to put aside resources to pay for any crop contamination, and to publically notify an application to release GE crops. Farmers have a right to know if their neighbours are going to be using GE, and ratepayers shouldn’t have to pay for contamination or liability costs.
“Councils are working hard to meet the needs of their local communities; they don’t need Minister Adams rolling in and riding roughshod over their local democracy,” Mr Browning said.