HBRC: What to do about GM ag in Hawke’s Bay?

From the HBRC Long Term Plan Consultation 

Draft HBRC Long-Term Plan

 GMO-Free Hawke’s Bay

 Our Proposal:

HBRC is considering its response to submissions on the issue of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and the potential presence in Hawke’s Bay as part of experimental outdoor field trials. The use of GMOs is regulated through the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act and determined by the Environmental Protection Authority. Central Government’s approach to GMOs can best be described as “proceed with caution, but keep options open.”

Hawke’s Bay people who made submissions want the Regional Policy Statement to preserve Hawke’s Bay’s status as a GM-Free food producer.

A range of options are available and HBRC would like to find out peoples’ views.

  • Identify GMOs as a significant regional issue in the Regional Policy Statement and include policies that provide direction to HBRC and local councils when responding to GMO applications.
  • Include rule(s) in the Regional Resource Management Plan to regulate the introduction of GMOs where water quality or ecosystems in water bodies are at risk.
  • Advocate for rules in District Plans to regulate the use of land for GMOs where there could be adverse economic effects from contamination or environmental effects on indigenous biodiversity.
  • HBRC submits to the Environment Protection Authority opposition to any application for the use of outdoor GMOs in Hawke’s Bay.
  • HBRC declares Hawke’s Bay ‘GM-Free’ as a signal to central government and potential GMO applicants, as well as a branding exercise to enhance marketing opportunities.

The Cost:

This will depend on which option, or combination of options, is eventually selected, but the most expensive for HBRC would be a change to the Regional Policy Statement or Regional Resource Management Plan. The least costly would be the lodging of submissions to the EPA.


To be determined.

Other Options:

The other option to consider is “do nothing” which means that the issue of the introduction of GMOs in Hawke’s Bay is entirely in the hands of any applicant and the Government decision-maker (the EPA) without input from the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. This is effectively the status quo.

 What Do You Think?

Submissions to plan@hbrc.govt.nz by 5 pm, Wednesday May 16.

Full consultation document available here


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