GE-Free campaigners are celebrating after Federated Farmers pulled out of court action that aimed to stop a Northland council from controlling use of genetically engineered crops.
Federated Farmers has withdrawn its appeal against a Northland Regional Council's Policy statement which took a precautionary stance on GE.
The farming lobby group has already lost cases in the Environment Court and the High Court in its bid to have councils' anti-GE rules declared unlawful.
GE-Free spokesperson Zelka Grammer said with the Court of Appeal date just three weeks away, Federated Farmers had wasted time and money forcing councils to defend the protection their communities wanted.
"We do hope that Federated Farmers can now turn their attention to supporting their own members in producing exports that add value to and protect New Zealand's clean green image.
"In our view they've wasted not only their members' hard-earned money, but our ratepayers' money and time as well."
Ms Grammer said GE-Free Northland and the Soil and Health Association was urging Federated Farmers to now withdraw its remaining appeals against GE-free measures by the Far North, Auckland, Whangarei and Hastings councils.
Federated Farmers has argued that the Environmental Protection Authority has sole responsibility for the regulations of GMOs, under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO).
It has disputed the right of local councils to put in place precautionary GMO provisions.
The five northern councils have so far argued successfully that they do have that right.
They said HSNO provided no protection for landowners whose GE crops were contaminated by a neighbour, and there was no ability to impose clean-up costs or compensation.