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.

16 September 2017

Northland Regional Council
Private Bag 9021
Whangarei Mail Centre WHANGAREI 0148

For all Councillors and involved Officials

 

Proposed Regional Plan

New rules and policies for how people use fresh water, land, air and the Northland coast


PSGR is a not-for-profit, non-aligned charitable trust whose members are science and medical professionals. Since the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification (RCGM) “to proceed with caution” we have maintained a watching brief on the scientific developments in genetic engineering (also referred to as genetic modification).

PSGR urge that Northland’s new Regional Plan establishes strong precautionary and prohibitive provisions, policies and rules on genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms; which may also be referred to as genetic modification and genetically modified organisms. This should complement the precautionary provisions on genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms in Northland’s Regional Policy Statement (RPS), the Auckland Council Unitary Plan, and the Far North District Council and Whangarei District Council collaborative Plan changes on genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms.

PSGR wishes to speak to this submission.

PSGR seeks a decision from Council for the proposed Regional Plan to be amended to include the following
policies:

1. In the tangata whenua section, precautionary and prohibitive provisions on genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms, in keeping with the established wording in the Northland RPS relating to tangata whenua and their specific concerns about the risks of on genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms to the environment, their cultural values, and to indigenous biodiversity.
To address and support the precautionary and prohibitive polices on genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms of all Tai Tokerau Iwi authorities, for all their respective rohe, from the Bombay hills north to Reinga.


2. The inclusion of provisions on genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms in the Coastal Marine Area of the Northland Regional Plan that are the same as in the Auckland Unitary Plan, that being to adopt a precautionary approach to the management of genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms by prohibiting the outdoor release of genetically engineered organisms and making outdoor field-testing and/or trials a discretionary activity, in the Coastal Marine Area.


3. To include provisions covering genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms in the Soil and Water section of the Regional Plan that avoids toxic discharges on to soils and into water from genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms. This to avoid transgenic contamination of soils and waterways, and adverse impacts on conventional primary producers, producers not using genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms.  We highlight that the vectors for transgenic contamination include soils, seeds, pollen, insects, machinery, water, plant material, animals, as well as human error and human activity.


4. To adopt a resource management framework for the management of genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms that is Region specific, taking into account environmental, economic and social well-being considerations.


5. To address and support the opposition of Northland District Councils and Auckland Council to outdoor use of genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms.
PSGR supports Whangarei District Council's plan change #131, Far North District Council Plan change #18, and the precautionary and prohibitive provisions in the Auckland Council Unitary Plan on genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms.


PSGR supports the innovative and collaborative work of the Northland and Auckland "Inter Council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation & Management Options." For your convenience, see www.wdc.govt.nz/PlansPoliciesandBylaws/Plans/Genetic-Engineering/Pages/default.aspx PSGR supports the valuable precautionary provisions on genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms in the Northland Regional Policy Statement and the identification of the genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms issue as an Issue of Significance for Northland tangata whenua and an issue of concern for Northland communities. The risks of outdoor use of genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms to indigenous biodiversity is a particular concern.


PSGR asks that Northland Regional Council do more to protect its valuable existing free status regarding genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms, its biosecurity, its indigenous biodiversity, its existing conventional primary producers, e.g. foresters, beekeepers, horticulturists, and farmers, its economy, its environment, its cultural values, its growing organic sector, including Maori organics "Hua Parakore", and public health from outdoor use of genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms.

 
PSGR opposes the outdoor use of genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms - including genetic intervention, gene drive and gene editing - on public lands and conservation estates. PSGR is confident that the jurisdictional issue will be settled in favour of Whangarei District Council (appellant) and Northland Regional Council (respondent) in the Court of Appeal, Wellington hearing on 22 November 2017.  


The Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 allows local councils the authority to ban or regulate outdoor use of genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms as part of integrated management. 


PSGR thanks you for the opportunity to make a submission. Please keep us informed. 


PSGR also congratulates Northland Councils, Auckland, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Hasting District Council for leading the way to a New Zealand secure from the contamination of our environment by genetic engineering and genetically engineered organisms.


The Trustees and Members of Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility New Zealand Charitable Trust