Minister Lacks Support, Should Drop Bid to Abolish GM Free Regions

Media Release: The Maori Party’s announcement that it does not support law changes designed to put an end to regional GM Free zones has been welcomed by Hawke’s Bay food producers and exporters group, Pure Hawke’s Bay.

In a letter to the environment minister last week, the Party stated that it does not support changes to the Resource Management Act “if they extend to allowing the Minister to overrule a provision in a plan, for example, to have a GMO Free zone.”

Pure Hawke’s Bay chairman Bruno Chambers says the Maori Party is right to reject the Minister’s play for new powers to override the reigons.

“The changes are undemocratic and unnecessary and every other political party has rightly condemned them.”

“This is a significant development for Hawke’s Bay.”

Grower and exporter, John Bostock says it is time for the Minister to abandon his bid to prevent local economies from making key strategic decisions on important issues like GM.

“He clearly cannot convince Parliament that the regions should be stripped of the ability to create GM Free food producing zones.”

Mr Bostock says the GM free zone that Hastings Council has established under the district plan covers what is grown outdoors and only lasts for the life of the plan.

“This is a prudent approach that protects our high-value food production and it’s good that the Maori Party also recognises this.”

Mr Chambers says there is huge economic benefit to Hawke’s Bay from protecting its GM Free food producer status.

“Many regions around the world that Hawke’s Bay competes with for market share are officially GM Free and we want a level playing field, with the same legal rights and opportunities.”



Section 360D(1)(d) of the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill proposes new powers that would allow the Minister to strike out regional GM Free zones on the basis that the relevant district plan rules overlap with or deal with the same subject matter as the national laws governing GMO releases (the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act). Those directions would be made in the form of regulation and would not require Parliament’s sign-off.

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