The Maori Party amendment to the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill does not achieve what they say it does on genetic modification, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker.
“Their amendment relates to the new powers given to the Minister to over-ride local democracy by knocking out or amending rules in District or Regional RMA plans.
“The Maori Party amendment was supported by all parties in Parliament last night except the Act Party, because it does narrow the Minister’s over-ride power, but only a little.
“It does this by saying the regulation cannot be used to knock out plan rules prohibiting GM ‘crops’.
“The problem is that “crops” do not include GM grasses or pasture.
“This was exposed last night in Parliament when Minister Nick Smith confirmed this in the debate when he correctly quoted the dictionary meaning: ‘crops’ are the produce of cultivated plants such as cereals, vegetables or fruit.’
“The Minister is right. Thus ‘crops’ do not include GM grass.
“Despite Maori Party assertions to the contrary, they are voting for a law which opens the door to GM grasses and pastures. This is widely opposed in many communities, especially by Maori.
“Maori Party support was obtained on the back of this ineffective amendment.
“The RLA Bill is deeply flawed in many different ways. They should be held to account for backing this flawed law, which will only pass with their support,” says David Parker.