Previously known as Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics PSRGNZ - Charitable Trust
As required under the new 2005 Charities Act, PSGR has reregistered as a charitable trust.

21 February 2013

 

The General Manager Planning and Policy and Councillors

Northland Regional Council

Private Bag 9021

Whangarei Mail Centre

WHANGAREI 0148

 

cc Far North DC and Whangarei DC

 

Northland Regional Council’s Regional Policy Statement

Further to our letter of 10 February, we write to emphasise the need for Northland Regional Council to make a precautionary statement on genetic engineering.

The number of submissions asking for this protection should show Council it is in the best interest of the region and the public to do so.

PSGR supports the submissions of Whangarei District Council (Submitter No. 291/ 11), Far North District Council (362/11), GE Free Northland (606/4), Ngatiwai Trust Board (632/43), Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi (697/43) and other Tai Tokerau Iwi authorities on their position on genetic engineering.

We oppose Farmers of NZ (Northland) (363/3) and Federated Farmers of NZ (746/88) because they can have a vested interest in promoting genetic engineering and genetically engineered plants.

 

The public perception is that there is also conflict of interest with some Councillors and Council are being pressured by those with a vested interest in promoting genetic engineering.

There is big money to be made in the short term from this technology.  Long term, there is no justification in endangering New Zealand’s environment with transgenic DNA that is irretrievable.  Once “out there” it will stay out there, and replicate and outcross to related plant species.

We advise Council to undertake independent research, and refer you to the scientific evidence in our letter of 10 February and to the majority opinion of your electorates.  We ask that Northland Regional Council make this precautionary step.  It will not preclude research in containment, but will aid in protecting the human and physical environment in your area, and the interests of conventional and organic farmers and growers, until such time as genetically engineered plants may be proven safe and acceptable.

A provision would be for Council to issue a statement requiring a grower of a transgenic crop that may in future be approved and grown to be held fully accountable for the cost of any contamination.  Full compensation would be paid to farmers and growers affected by the transgenic DNA contamination and to the administrators of public land requiring repair following contamination.

We ask that Northland Regional Council’s Regional Policy Statement contains a prohibitive policy on genetically engineered organisms in the open environment, similar to the wording in the 2004/14 and 2006/16 Northland Regional Council Long Term Council Community Plan.

After weakening the strong precautionary policy on genetic engineering in the 10 Year Community Plan 2006/16, against the wishes of ratepayers and territorial authorities, we understand Northland Regional Council promised to include a provision in the Proposed RPS.  We further understand that the initial proposal for a precautionary provision in the proposed Regional Policy Statement received the largest number of submissions from Northlanders on any issue raised in the Northland Regional Council Review to date supporting the Northland Regional Council proposal.  To remove a precautionary provision from the Proposed Regional Policy Statement following this is undemocratic and inappropriate, and a breach of the tacit understanding that Council represents the interests of its electors.

 

Trustees of Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility

Ends