23 Oct 2012

Northland council rolls over on GE stance

8:13 pm on 23 October 2012

Northland Regional Council chairperson Craig Brown says he's personally disappointed that his council's dropped the genetic engineering issue from its policy agenda.

Other councils and GE lobby groups have criticised the council for leaving a precautionary clause about GE out of its new regional policy statement.

Mr Brown says he's not happy either, because he has always favoured local control over genetically-engineered crops and organisms.

He says it has yet to be shown that they offer any benefits to New Zealand's primary industries, and without any liability regime, councils could be saddled with clean-up costs if something goes wrong.

But he says his council's policy committee has prioritised resource management issues facing Northland, and found GE is not one of the most pressing.

Mr Brown says there is still a mention of a precautionary approach to GE in the regional plan - though it has been watered down - and it still gives a foundation to create planning controls for GE organisms.