Environmental Guidance in Forestry Standards Is Welcomed
NEW ZEALAND – The National Environmental Standards – Plantation Forestry released this week gives both plantation businesses and communities clear guidelines on how to protect the environment, according to GE Free NZ, which welcomes the removal of an alarming draft clause that permitted the planting of GE rootstock.
“We are pleased the MPI has listened to the thousands of submitters who have called for the removal of the clause,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-Free NZ. “GE trees are not allowed under leading international sustainability standards such as FSC. Meeting such quality controls is important for the New Zealand forestry businesses”
The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) have upheld the submission process and listened to the 16,000 submitters who opposed the GE tree clause. MPI has stated in their analysis in point 3.6.2 that “… it is not appropriate for GM tree stock to be included as a permitted activity in an NES.” (Report on submissions and recommendations, p.31)
“The last minute insertion permitting GE trees was disturbing to more than 16,000 submitters. It is extremely important to communities in New Zealand to keep our environment GE-free,” said Ms Bleakley.
The MPI consultation process attracted more than 16,000 submissions of which 15,986 requested the removal of the clause permitting the planting of GE trees (NES-PF, 6.4). Of the 15,662 short form submissions, and 356 comprehensive petitions, only 22 supported retaining the clause on GE trees if release was approved by the EPA. 
The final report on the NES-PF standards strengthens and regulates the environmental protections needed for large-scale plantations. Stringent regulations for waterways, land, and soil will also protect and reduce the degradation of our environment.