Warren Parker, CEO at Scion, requests more honesty and "less hysteria" from the GE-free lobby when it talks about the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) proposal to allow for genetically modified pine (and other) trees to be grown throughout New Zealand plantation forests.
Perhaps he should suggest instead that Scion and the ministry be more open and honest about their real intentions.
I consider the way the ministry went about its public consultation on this matter sneaky and underhand, and abhorrent to local democracy.
The ministry has a glossy booklet giving details about future intentions for NZ plantation forests. Nowhere in this glossy booklet is there any mention about genetically modified trees being planted. Nor was it mentioned at the public meetings. This glossy booklet is just a summary of the public consultation document.
In the full version of the consultation document there is a brief two-sentence mention on page 43 para 6.4 that genetically modified trees would be grown throughout New Zealand. This would be subject to oversight by the Environmental Protection Agency.
But many local authorities do not consider the agency rules/regulations re GMOs to be strong enough, and have put stronger rules into their district and long-term plans. Here comes the crunch: in the ministry consultation document - paras 5.1 and 5.2 - these stronger rules can be over-ridden by the new forestry plantation regulation proposals.
The local authorities and their communities (such as Whangarei and Far North District) have spent many years trying to strengthen their GE-free stance with locally agreed rules.
And here is the National Government coming in - through a back door via the ministry - to undo all of that.
Not hysteria, Mr Parker. Just sheer bloody annoyance and anger.
What do you think? Comment below.