Melissa McGrath, Team Leader - District Plan, Whangarei District Council.
Plan change 131 – Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) has been developed collaboratively over the past 10 years. During this time the community has voiced concerns to the Council on the risks of the outdoor use of GMOs in a number of different forums.
In response to these concerns an Inter-Council Working Party (‘the Working Party’) on GMO risk evaluation and management options was formed in 2003. The Working Party is made up of the councils in Northland and Auckland.
The Working Party determined that GMOs are a significant resource management issue in the northern region and that a precautionary approach to the outdoor use of GMOs is desired by the community.
Plan Change 131 proposes to insert a new chapter and new definitions into the Whangarei District Council Operative District Plan. The following summarises the proposed provisions:
The creation of a district wide GMOs chapter to be inserted into the District Plan that includes:
A description of the purpose and expectations of the new GMO chapter, which is to manage the outdoor use of GMOs.
Eligibility rules that outline what GMO activities are covered and what GMO activities are not covered by the new provisions.
Notification criteria, which states that all applications for resource consent under the proposed GMO provisions must be publicly notified.
Objectives specifying outcomes sought for the outdoor use of GMOs.
Policies specifying courses of action to achieve outcomes sought for the outdoor use of GMOs.
Information requirements for applications for GMO field trials.
General development and performance standards outlining minimum controls without limiting the discretion reserved to Council.
Particular matters to be considered when determining the amount of bond required and a monitoring strategy for a GMO discretionary activity.
New definitions to be inserted into chapter 4, meaning of words in the District Plan for the following terms:
Field Trials (tests)
Genetically Modified Organism and GMO
Environmental Protection Authority and EPA
Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act and HSNO
Following submissions and futher submissions a joint hearing was held on the dates listed below. The purpose of the joint hearing was to hear all submitters on both the Whangarei and Far North District Councils' plan changes on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Pre-Circulated and Tabled Evidence
Pre-Circulated and Tabled Evidence are available to view in the 'Hearing' Folder below. Please note that all evidence was not able to be placed on the website due to its large size.
Right of Reply from Reporting Planners' and Closing Legal Submissions
The Right of Reply from the Reporting Planners' and the Closing Legal Submissions are available to view in the 'Hearing' Folder below.
Whangarei District Council decided to accept the Hearing Panel’s recommendations at its Planning Committee Meeting on Thursday 15 September 2016,submitters may lodge an appeal with the Environment Court within 30 working days of service of the decision