Jurisdiction of Councils to Regulate GMOs under the RMA

Jurisdiction of Councils to Regulate GMOs under the RMA – Response to Christensen and Nicolle, Anderson Lloyd Lawyers

Mark Christensen and Jonathan Nicolle in the Resource Management Journal (RMJ, August 2014, 16 – 21) concluded in relation to whether or not local authorities have jurisdiction to manage the effects from the outdoor use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) “that the best legal interpretation is that local authorities do not have jurisdiction to control GMOs under the RMA” (p.16).

I do not wish to dispute the merits of their legal arguments but as the Convener of the Inter-Council Working Party on GMO Risk Evaluation and Management Options, comprised of Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara District Councils, Northland Regional Council and the Auckland Council, I do wish to challenge their statement above concerning the best legal interpretation over jurisdiction.

The article in the Resource Management Journal is based upon two opinions by the authors (February 2014; May 2014) provided to Federated Farmers of New Zealand and subsequently attached to submissions from Federated Farmers to the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, the Proposed Hastings District Plan (under review), the Proposed Northland Regional Policy Statement (under review), Proposed Plan Change 131 at Whangarei District Council and Proposed Plan Change 18 at Far North District Council. All of these documents have included provisions relating to the management of outdoor use of GMOs.

To read the full article here