Data source
Date of text
12 May 2015
Seat of court
Original language


Type of text
National - higher court
Reference number
[2015] NZEnvC 89
Court name
Environmental Court of New Zealand
LJ Newhook
agriculture, biosafety, genetically modified organism

In this case, the plaintiff, an association of farmers, challenges the disposition of the proposed Regional Policy Statement for Northland concerning Genetically Modified Organisms. The proposed Regional Policy Statement contained propositions with regards to control use of GMO that would reduce its use in the region.

The plaintiff contests the decision of the Northland Regional Council in front of the Environmental Court on the basis that the GMO control fall under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) and not the Resource Management Act (RMA). As a result, GMO control measures should be taken at the national level and regional level by regional council.

The court held that the RMA does not contain any provision which overlaps with the HSNO even though the provisions of the RMA have a broader scope. As a result, the court considered that under the regional council are entitled to use the RMA to take decisions on control use of the GMO.