Rural round-up

Key sectors welcome TPP – Colin Bettles:

SUGAR may have been served a bitter-sweet outcome in the final Trans-Pacific Partnership but other key Australian commodities like beef, grains, dairy and cotton have tasted some success.

The Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) said the TPP deal – signed overnight by Federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb – would provide significant increased market opportunities for Australian grassfed beef producers, when it comes into force.

Game changer for beef

CCA president Howard Smith said the agreement signifies a game changing opportunity for the Australian beef industry which sees a positive future fort itself, in export markets. . . 

Rolleston wants GM use debate – Richard Rennie:

Councils’ efforts to ban genetically modified crops have Federated Farmers banging up against public opinion in some rural districts.

But federation president Dr William Rolleston argues the move to ban GM crops threatens farmers’ ability to innovate and is a choice they might lose through misinformation and misunderstandings about what the science is really about.

The federation’s case against council bans on GM use got a severe bruising when they lost on appeal to the Environment Court earlier this year. . . 

Milk price expected to hit $3000/t this year – Jemma Brackebush:

Banks and analysts are predicting international dairy prices will continue to rise, and a lift in Fonterra’s forecast payout looks likely.

Prices in the global dairy trade auction rose for the fourth consecutive time on Tuesday night.

The price for the key commodity, whole milk powder, which underpins the price Fonterra pays its farmers, increased by 12.9 percent to $US2,824 a tonne. . . 

Record jail sentence for animal abuser Michael Whitelock:

A dairy worker has been handed what is believed to be New Zealand’s longest-ever prison sentence for animal cruelty, after cows were beaten, had their tails broken and were shot in the kneecaps on a farm he managed.

Michael James Whitelock was sentenced in the Greymouth District Court on Wednesday to four and a half years jail and banned from owning animals for 10 years.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to 12 charges, including ill treatment of animals, unlawful possession of firearms and attempting to pervert the course of justice. . . 

Farmer suicides up – Jemma Brackebush:

Figures from the Ministry of Justice show 27 men in farming communities committed suicide in the past year ended June.

The chief coroner Deborah Marshall released annual provisional suicide statistics on Tuesday, which showed 564 people died by suicide in the past year, up 35 on the previous year and the highest number since records began eight years ago.

Male suicides rose from 385 last year to 428, and female suicides dropped from 144 to 136. . . 

Banks fork out a total $25.5M over rural interest rate swaps – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – The Commerce Commission has completed the distribution of $25.5 million to complainants and rural charities after reaching settlements with banks who had marketed interest rate swap products to farmers.

The commission says nearly $20 million in cash has been paid to eligible customers while $1.9 million was offset by the banks against debts some complainants owed to them. A further $2.5 million went to 14 regional Rural Support Trusts and the Dairy Women’s Network and the commission received $1 million to cover a portion of its investigation costs, including legal expenses. The bulk of the money came from the ANZ Bank New Zealand, which paid out $19.3 million in total, $3.2 million from ASB Bank and $3 million from Westpac Banking Corp. . . .

All Geared Up For The Glammies:

Entries are now open for the 2016 Golden Lamb Awards, aka the Glammies, which seeks out the tastiest and tender lamb in New Zealand.

The competition gives farmers the opportunity to enter their lamb into one of the most highly regarded competitions the industry has to offer.

The entries are then assessed by Carne Technologies in Cambridge for tenderness, yield, succulence and colour.

The scientific testing determines which top four entries from five categories will make it through to the final stage of the competition, a taste test, held at the Upper Clutha A&P show in Wanaka on 11 March 2016. . . 

New Zealand Bloodstock to Sponsor New Race in China:

New Zealand Bloodstock and the Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry Co. Ltd have partnered together to introduce the New Zealand Bloodstock Cup to be held in Inner Mongolia, China next year.

2015 RTR
The race is open to horses purchased by any Chinese buyer at this year’s New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale in November. To be held in July 2016 at Korchin, Inner Mongolia, the New Zealand Bloodstock Cup is worth RMB500,000 and will be run over 1800m.

NZB’s Co-Managing Director Andrew Seabrook is excited about the formal partnership reached between NZB and Rider Horse Group. . . 

Serious savings from whole-farm soil testing:

Whole-farm soil testing saves Taranaki farmer Hayden Lawrence about $15,000 on fertiliser each year.

Hayden, who farms in equity partnership with his wife Alecia and parents in Taranaki, began whole-farm soil testing seven years ago. To date, he has reaped about $90,000 in savings and has increased pasture production from 14.5 tonnes per hectare to 18.6T/ha on the 97ha property.

The Lawrences milk a maximum of 240 cows on an 85ha milking platform, using their hill country block to graze heifers. They also follow an 18-month cropping rotation, that sees paddocks planted into silage, oats, chicory and then into pasture. . . .

RHĀNZ welcomes Government’s new rural connectivity target:

The Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand welcomes the new rural connectivity target announced by the Government today.

The target means nearly all rural New Zealanders will be able to access broadband speeds of at least 50Mbps by 2025.

RHĀNZ Chairperson, Dr Jo Scott-Jones, says securing reliable and affordable telecommunications services is critical to the health and wellbeing of rural communities and is a top priority for all 40 RHĀNZ members.

“As part of our RBI phase 2 submission to Government earlier this year, we called for more ambitious targets for rural broadband speeds, so it is really pleasing to hear Minister Adams’s announcement today,” he says. . . 

Anglers urged to vote ‘in best interests of our fishing and hunting resources’:

The country’s anglers and game bird hunters are being reminded to make sure they vote in the Fish and Game Council elections.

Fish & Game Communications Manager Don Rood says that because voting closes at 5pm on Friday (9 October), those who are eligible and haven’t voted are advised to do so online, rather put voting papers in the post.

“We urge licenceholders to take the time to vote – to exercise their right to choose the people who can best advance their local region’s hunting and fishing interests. . . 

Free entry for 2016 Games:

The second annual Hilux New Zealand Rural Games takes place in Queenstown next Waitangi weekend (Sat 6th – Sun 7th Feb) and entry won’t cost you a cent.

Two days of ‘sports that built the nation’ and live entertainment on the Recreation Ground plus the Running of the Wools – more than 400 merino sheep herding through downtown Queenstown – will be completely free to watch.

We’ve been able to waive ticket prices thanks to the generous support of our patrons and event partners including major sponsors Toyota, Fonterra, Line 7, Ngai Tahu Farming, Jetstar and Husqvarna which has increased its support from the inaugural Games.

The Running of the Wools is once again supported by our friends at clothing and gift retailer, Global Culture. . . 

65 Responses to Rural round-up

  1. farmerbraun says:

    I find Rolleston’s position on GMOs inexplicable .What is it that he does not understand about the tort of nuisance.?

    if a GMO can be confined exclusively to the property and within the boundaries of the user , then there is little to argue about ; it is a personal decision of the landowner.

    But if there is little or no possibility of such confinement of a GMO within the property of the user then the case for a right to use that GMO falls at the first hurdle.

    This principle is already well established in law.

    My neighbours may not spray volatile herbicides , such as 2,4-D, in wind conditions which will spread the effect outside of the user’s property. This applies also to dust , odours , noise and all manner of other nuisances.

    Any opinions?

  2. TraceyS says:

    As long as plants are sterile what can the nuisance be?

  3. farmerbraun says:

    “if a GMO can be confined exclusively to the property and within the boundaries of the user , then there is little to argue about ; it is a personal decision of the landowner.”

    “As long as plants are sterile what can the nuisance be?”

    The two statements are pretty similar.

    Would you say that all sterile plants are never invasive weeds?

  4. TraceyS says:

    No I wouldn’t say that, but could spread by vegetative means not be controlled by setback distances for planting, for example?

  5. Mr E says:

    Farmer Braun,
    Dont you think the taking the tort of nuisance would actually make farming illegal.

    I bet you have grasses and other seeds that your neighbour doesnt want that will be spread by wildlife and wind.
    I bet he doesnt want the pollen for those grasses coming from your place either.

    I bet there are many things that are spread between farms that neighbours don’t want.
    Sheep lice
    Disease carried by birds ie Salmonella
    Parasitic nematode L3 larvae
    Viral Pneumonia
    Plant parasites – Grass grub Porina, ASW, CRW, Mealy bug etc.
    Fungal spores from Sclerotina, Facial excema, Fusariam, etc.

    The list goes on an on an on and on and on ………..

    Why pick on GM when the intention of it is positive rather than negative like the list of so many above.

  6. farmerbraun says:

    No mr E clearly it could not be , because no reasonable person could hold that farming per se constitutes nuisance.
    This law is not an ass 🙂

  7. farmerbraun says:

    Tort law deals only with effects.
    Intentions are irrelevant.

  8. farmerbraun says:

    Invasive plants that can propagate vegetatively could not be controlled by setback .
    Consider the various agents of spread available – wind, flooding, subsidence, erosion, excavation, insects, birds, animals, vehicles etc.

  9. TraceyS says:

    The distinction is that GM plants do not presently exist in the base-line environment.

    I agree that there are many nuisances (such as listed by Mr E) already making up the base-line environment. One of our biggest ones is the spread of gorse from neighbouring properties. Even though those properties are a very obvious source of seed it would be impossible to prove, I suspect, exactly where the seed which caused our nuisance came from.

    It would no doubt be much easier to identify (or at least narrow down) the origins of GM material which had migrated. That makes it an easier target for the tort of nuisance, am I right farmerbraun?

    There is an unfairness about that.

  10. TraceyS says:

    “Invasive plants that can propagate vegetatively could not be controlled by setback .

    Consider the various agents of spread available – wind, flooding, subsidence, erosion, excavation, insects, birds, animals, vehicles etc.

    Consider that not all plants propagate vegetatively. Why could GM crops not be limited to sterile plants which cannot propagate by vegetative means?

    Or do consider that a leaf from a GM tree landing on another property might constitute a nuisance, farmerbraun? I don’t think that would meet the “reasonable person” argument.

  11. farmerbraun says:

    ” am I right farmerbraun?”

    I don’t know. Did not MPI establish with some accuracy where PSA had come from?

  12. farmerbraun says:

    “Why could GM crops not be limited to sterile plants which cannot propagate by vegetative means?”

    I’m guessing that they could. That might not helpful if the GMO in question is not a higher plant. .eg. a bacterium , fungus , alga. .. etc.

  13. farmerbraun says:

    ” a leaf from a GM tree landing on another property would NOT meet the “reasonable person” argument.”

    Correct. At least in small quantities 🙂

  14. Mr E says:

    I disagree with FB and Tracey,

    Farmer Braun I doubt you can claim the following are not nuisances to your farming practices:

    Viral Pnuemonia
    Salmonella
    Parasitic L3 Larvae
    Grass grub
    Porina
    ASW
    CRW

    Tracey I doubt you can claim these things are not affected by farm management.

    And Tracey I also doubt you can claim that mutated genetics arent part of some kind of baseline.

    UV can mutate genes. If we don’t provide shade to livestock are we part of GM already? That is a long strung bow, but the point is hard to deny.

  15. Dave Kennedy says:

    The GE debate is going to become more intensive and there is obviously some political will to become more open to GE within our agricultural sector.

    This was my impression of the ‘national’ GE debate held recently in Queenstown:
    http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2015/09/the-national-ge-debate.html

    The big issue is not so much the threat of GE itself but the culture that surrounds it. Most GE plants are designed to be herbicide/pesticide tolerant and it is the effects of those that pose some real health and environmental risks. The other is the issue around patent rights which can create legal nightmares for some.

  16. TraceyS says:

    “Tracey I doubt you can claim these things are not affected by farm management.”

    Of course I wouldn’t.

    I also think that the migration of GM plants that farmerbraun is concerned about could be effectively managed.

    But even if it is not 100%, does that necessarily constitute a nuisance?

    “And Tracey I also doubt you can claim that mutated genetics arent part of some kind of baseline.”

    WelI I guess we would need look no further than ourselves, Mr E.

  17. TraceyS says:

    “Most GE plants are designed to be herbicide/pesticide tolerant and…”

    Hold on. They are engineered to be resistant to a particular herbicide so that farmers can spray over crops to kill unwanted weeds which would otherwise compete with the desired crop. This does not mean they can’t be zapped by another herbicide by another farmer if they spread, undesirably, onto that farmer’s property.

    This a problem only for organic farmers like farmerbraun. Conventional farmers are not unused to having to spray the odd weed.

  18. Dave Kennedy says:

    “I also think that the migration of GM plants that farmerbraun is concerned about could be effectively managed.”

    Like this Tracey? Welcome to the world of Monsanto and aggressive protections of patents.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/agricultural-giant-battles-small-farmers/

  19. farmerbraun says:

    “Viral Pnuemonia
    Salmonella
    Parasitic L3 Larvae
    Grass grub
    Porina
    ASW
    CRW”

    Mr E , I am quite sure that I could not allege or prove nuisance for any of those incursions , except that I do not know what the last two are.

  20. farmerbraun says:

    that should be . . . “neither allege nor prove nuisance”

  21. farmerbraun says:

    “I also think that the migration of GMOs that farmerbraun is concerned about could be effectively managed.”

    That is the question.
    How?

  22. Dave Kennedy says:

    “This a problem only for organic farmers like farmerbraun. Conventional farmers are not unused to having to spray the odd weed.”

    This is actually a huge problem and could easily push our growing and important organic, GE free industry out of business. Once GE crops are in we will lose many profitable markets and many farmers like FB.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/7612107/GM-free-means-good-sales-for-NZ

  23. Mr E says:

    Some of the particular herbicides are used in food production on naturally resistant plants.

  24. Mr E says:

    “Once GE crops are in we will lose many profitable markets and many farmers like FB.”

    Why?

  25. farmerbraun says:

    The question was :-“under what conditions could the release of GMOs comply with the obligation to not cause nuisance?”

  26. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, Farmerbraun may be able to respond better than myself but the GE farming culture and that of organics cannot co-exist. How could a buffer be established between the two to stop contamination and how easy would it be to promote natural farming exports when GE is widely accepted?

    http://althealthworks.com/3510/how-organic-farmers-are-forced-to-bear-the-costs-and-the-risks-of-gmo-contamination/

    http://ecowatch.com/2014/06/27/organic-seeds-gmo-contamination/

    https://www.organicconsumers.org/old_articles/Organic/ov3.php

  27. Mr E says:

    farmer Braun,

    The answer to you question depends on how you define GE free. Bit like how you define organic.

    In California there is a group of farmers called Californians for GE-Free Agriculture, how does such a group exist in the US?

    Simple they consider non GM is GE free.

    A bit like a organic farmers using products like coppersulphate, or certified drenches, or even diesel, it is all about perception.

  28. farmerbraun says:

    ” it is all about perception.”

    Nope it is all about compliance with QA and risk management programs, and the Commerce Act.

  29. farmerbraun says:

    ” depends on how you define GE free.”

    The RMP defines it as presence or absence. It is well defined.

  30. Mr E says:

    “but the GE farming culture and that of organics cannot co-exist”

    But they do – all over the globe.

    There is a GE free Europe movement
    As above some Californian farmers fight to be GE free despite widespread US use.
    A list of GE free US products.

    People already claim GE is here. Can we claim to be GE free?

  31. Mr E says:

    FB
    Are we GE free? Is GE material absent from NZ? You have a clear definition I am hoping for a clear answer.

  32. Dave Kennedy says:

    “But they do – all over the globe.”

    They don’t. Where is your evidence? There has to be a considerable seperation between the two.

    My links demonstrate the issues in the US and half of Europe is GE free. If we don’t remain so we may lose some of our markets and potential markets there because of the widespread anti-GE consumer block.

    http://www.gmo-free-regions.org/gmo-free-regions/maps.html

    The main advantages of GE crops is their tolerance of chemical sprays and do we really want to go down that style of farming. the only advantage I have heard that may be of value is sterile conifers that can be planted where wilding pines are an issue, but in allowing an opening to solve one problem we are just lifting the lid of Pandora’s box.

  33. farmerbraun says:

    “FB
    Are we GE free? Is GE material absent from NZ? ”

    Both irrelevant in this context Mr E.

    The criterion to be satisfied in respect of nuisance is the presence or absence of GMOs, and non-invasion.

    If GMOs spread from a user to a non-user, the former has failed in his obligation to protect the non-user from that nuisance.
    It is about the freedom to farm.

  34. Mr E says:

    Not irrelevant.

    GE has been happening in Labs. Therefore by your definition it is present.

    NZ is not GE free.

    For years the anti GE movement has claimed that once released GE material will be uncontrolable. It is one of the main arguments against monsanto.

    Now that GE material is out there – all over the show, now the anti GE movement is claiming it can be contained, but invisible regional boarders and farm fence lines.

    So what is it – containable or not? And what is the scale of containment?

    If it is not containable, how can we possibly claim to be GE free?

  35. Dave Kennedy says:

    The management of GE crops is practically impossible when even research centres ignore strict management guidelines, it doesn’t bode well if they are ever released into the wider sector.

    http://pundit.co.nz/content/brassicas-bees-and-gm-botch-ups

    it appears that an organic farmers freedom to farm in the way he/she wishes will be seriously challenged.

  36. Mr E says:

    Dave

    In the US
    “It has been estimated that upwards of 75% of processed foods on supermarket shelves – from soda to soup, crackers to condiments – contain genetically engineered ingredients.”

    How does organics exist in the US when GE is so wide spread that it contributes to 75% of processes foods.

  37. Mr E says:

    Dave,

    “The management of GE crops is practically impossible”

    Are we GE free currently?

  38. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, it appears you think it is already too late and we may as well accept GE as acceptable anywhere. While it isn’t being managed particularly well, GE crops are not currently approved for general use. Do you have evidence of GE crops being grown outside of research?

  39. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, you are probably right to say that we can’t claim that our country is entirely GE free as we even import GE products (generally not labelled as such). However currently practically all farmers could claim to be GE free. As FB has explained once all farmers are able to use GE crops it will be the beginning of the end for many organic farmers.

  40. Mr E says:

    Dave,
    I am trying to understand the scale at which GE can be controlled. You seem to be saying it can’t be controlled. So does FB.

    If it can’t be controlled why would we care?

    If we are GE free are our oceans and border controls enough?

    I am not sure how Aussie, South America, USA, North America and much of Europe have organics. They are classified as GM, and as it is uncontrollable, how can organics exist there?

  41. Mr E says:

    “However currently practically all farmers could claim to be GE free.”

    Who are the ones that can’t claim to be GE?

  42. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, currently New Zealand isn’t technically GE free but there are such strict controls on GE that its use is very limited and restricted to research.

    Some of the largest protest marches the country has experienced were against GE.

    There are huge economic advantages of promoting non GE and organic exports.

    There are few economic advantages of embracing GE within our farming sector (can you produce any?).

    I’m not sure what your argument is other than we may as well embrace GE because it is uncontrollable. I’m sure FB will be concerned about his future if that was the case and we will lose some lucrative markets.

  43. farmerbraun says:

    “saying it can’t be controlled. So does FB.”

    I didn’t say that at all.
    The non-users of GMO do not have GMOs present on their farms. If there will be no nuisance then there is no problem.
    If a GMO cannot be contained on the farm of the user , and will cause nuisance to non-GMO-using neighbours , then such GMOs cannot be released.

    That is the law.
    So what is Rolleston on about? That’s what I’d like to understand.

  44. TraceyS says:

    Dave at 2:11pm, that problem could easily be solved by the Government requiring all GM plants for production to be sterile and prohibiting those which are capable of propagating vegetatively. Then there would be no cause for saving GM seed and virtually no possibility of unauthorised reuse occurring accidentally.

    farmerbraun at 2:16 pm, how can migration of GM plants be effectively managed?

    If plants can be deliberately modified to have certain desirable traits, and can be modified to be sterile, then I figure they can also be modified in other ways. So why couldn’t they also be modified to be susceptible to an otherwise harmless substance which would be acceptable for use on organic farms in the case of migration occurring?

    For example, lets say that GM plants could be further modified to translocate the compound called Marmite in such a way that the Marmite would have a herbicidal effect on them. Surely that could be possible?

    Hypothetically, if your neighbour’s GM crop did happen to spread onto your farm by some means, then you (and your neighbour) could easily get rid of it with an acceptable spray. Marmite could even be sprayed over your non-GM wheat or swedes to kill the rogue plants without affecting the main crop in the slightest. You would have a suitable solution.

    It would also help if organic rules allowed trace amounts of GMOs as in the US, European Union and Japan. That’s probably critical to GM farming and organic farming co-existing within close proximity of each other. Reasonable consumers would most likely accept this in acknowledgement of the basic rights of farmers to grow whatever they reasonably choose on their land whether it be organic or GM crops. Many consumers will want access to both categories of foods at some point in their lives.

    Purists wouldn’t accept this of course. But they are a very small minority.

    You wrote: “If GMOs spread from a user to a non-user, the former has failed in his obligation to protect the non-user from that nuisance.”

    Not necessarily. The trespass itself doesn’t necessarily constitute a nuisance. This is because it may not cause damage. I can see how it could potentially cause damage if you, the organic farmer, cannot accept the conventional means of control and therefore have no defense against an invasion.

    Therefore why not ask for the development of acceptable means of control to accompany the development of any GM plants destined to be used here? I’m sure that the technology to do this will exist already. Are organic markets large enough to justify the cost? I don’t know. But it would be preferable to a blanket ban on GM crops for production.

    Just a wild idea.

  45. farmerbraun says:

    ” get rid of it with an acceptable spray.
    [X}could even be sprayed over your non-GM wheat or swedes to kill the rogue plants without affecting the main crop in the slightest. You would have a suitable solution.”

    Spread of noxious plants is frequently cited as a nuisance , in instances when nuisance proceedings are being brought to the Court, even between neighbours with both parties operating spraying regimes.
    There are farmers who do not spray . Forcing them to have to do so, because of ingress from neighbours can reasonably be argued to be a nuisance.

    I think this is what Rolleston is getting at ; he seems to be suggesting , in a similar way to your example, that what is needed from government , is a waiver to the tort of nuisance , in respect to GMOs

  46. farmerbraun says:

    1. “The trespass itself doesn’t necessarily constitute a nuisance. ”

    2. “This is because it may not cause damage.”

    3.I can see how it could potentially cause damage . . . .[ if you, the organic farmer, cannot accept the conventional means of control and therefore have no defense against an invasion.”]

    1. True , but trespass is also cause for action in law. Both could be causes for action.

    2. Damages are a separate issue . but could be a further cause of action. in addition to trespass and nuisance.

    3. The presence of the GMO on the organic property would be ACTUAL, not potential, because the presence is prohibited under the Quality Assurance protocol.

  47. farmerbraun says:

    It seems that a solution might be to design a GMO that could not reasonably be held to be a nuisance.

    Suppose for example , that Monsanto were to produce a GMO that could only remain alive in the presence of a certain minimum concentration of glyphosate.

    These plants would need to receive regular and sufficient dosages of Roundup to remain alive .

    If this GMO migrated to a situation where it did not receive the required maintenance dosage of Roundup then it would immediately become a dead GMO, and it could then be reasonably argued that the dead organism did not constitute a nuisance.

    Why would Monsanto not want to produce such a GMO?

  48. TraceyS says:

    Why?

    Because you, the person requesting the solution, are not the customer who would be paying for it.

    I like my idea better – a compliant spray you could use to control the migration before it becomes a nuisance.*

    User pays. With your organic premium it shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, the more technologsed your neighbours become, the more sought after your organic product should become, in theory. Win win.

    (* precedent already exists. Most farmers would deal with migrated pests (plant, animals, diseases, parasites etc) and not claim costs from contributing parties).

  49. farmerbraun says:

    “the person requesting the solution, ”

    No I was just idly speculating on ways to make money using GMOs and Ag chemicals. 🙂

    It’s not me who has the problem : it is perhaps some members of Federated farmers.

    We still don’t know what the problem is, let alone the solution.
    The current situation works fine for me.

    What membership survey result pertaining to this issue is Federated farmers using to formulate its position, so as to represent the various membership views to Government ?

  50. TraceyS says:

    Yes, I know you were idly speculating and I was too, speculating about the potential barriers to such a product ever being developed. There would be a heap of other barriers too I’d imagine.

    The current situation is fine with you but the world is changing. Technology touches us all and sometimes forces us to change. I never wanted to use Facebook but have long since relented because if I wanted to stay in touch with certain people (mainly extended family) I needed to be on board with how they prefer to communicate.

    The article above is essentially about whether or not councils have a role in controlling GMOs under the RMA. Having the debate is facing up to the reality that GMOs exist and probably will affect us all in one way or another…eventually. I think that technological advances can only be shut out for so long. It’s naive to think we can keep saying “no” forever. If a governing body has the jurisdiction to write policies banning something then it also has the ability to issues rules allowing it with conditions. Council’s banning GMOs is actually the first step to allowing it with conditions. It’s staking that territory and claiming authority. It can’t have the right to ban something without also having the right to allow it.

    Here is the argument against councils having a role in controlling GMOs, which I find to be quite compelling:
    http://www.andersonlloyd.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/REGULATION-OF-GENETICALLY-MODIFIED-ORGANISMS-UNDER-THE-RESOURCE-MANAGEMENT-ACT-1991.pdf

    Here is the basic argument for:
    http://www.nzlii.org/cgi-bin/sinodisp/nz/cases/NZEnvC/2015/89.html?query=federated%20farmers

    Here is why, whichever argument finally succeeds, the eventual reality may only differ significantly by the speed or consistency with which GMOs are adopted:
    http://www.victoria.ac.nz/law/research/publications/vuwlr/prev-issues/pdf/vol-35-2004/issue-3/besier.pdf

    “Private nuisance has been rendered ineffective by the RMA. The tort has been denied a role because local authorities make decisions under the RMA about which competing land uses will prevail. The RMA has dominated private nuisance to such an extent that potential nuisance situations are allowed to continue, because the use of neighbouring land has been restricted.”

    If councils are eventually able to make rules for GMO activities under the law and proceed to grant consents for them there will come a time when an activity, maybe in your region, maybe even your neighbour, gets the green light provided the environmental effects are perceived to be no more than minor. Your view of minor will be weighed up against others’ views and a decision may or may not come down on your side. So your neighbour could get consent to plant a GM crop, with conditions of course, with you left relying on enforcement under the RMA for protection.

  51. farmerbraun says:

    No , it is not the case that activities that are legal under the RMA are not subject to the tort of nuisance.
    Having successfully brought such an action, I am quite confident.
    The RMA does not give a licence to cause nuisance.
    And overall the RMA does not give a licence to cause adverse effects outside of one’s property. It does not usually allow them within the boundaries either.
    But the idea that one can no longer effectively bring a private nuisance action is completely wrong.

    I think this is what Federated farmers may be wanting to change.

  52. farmerbraun says:

    The point is that under existing law , I do not rely on a regional council or the RMA to protect me from nuisance – tort law does that very effectively.

  53. TraceyS says:

    I know, but if your neighbour had consent to plant a GM crop, with conditions, and those conditions were being breached, then the most practical and least costly action (at least initially) would be to complain to to issuer of that consent and ask them to enforce the conditions they made.

    You say that you brought action for nuisance but did it go to court and was there a judgement? I think previously you have said it was settled outside court.

    I am sure you would have already seen this:

    http://www.fedfarm.org.nz/publications/media-releases/article.asp?id=2495#.VhnjCOyqqko

    “In its decision this month the Western Australian Court of Appeal ruled that the organic farmer was “entitled to enter into arrangements which had the effect that their land was being put to an abnormally sensitive use, but their neighbours [Baxter] did not then fall under an obligation to limit their farming activities on their own land so as not to interfere with that use of the appellants’ land.”

    The court went on to say that “the appellants could not, by putting their land to an abnormally sensitive use, thereby ‘unilaterally enlarge their own rights’ and impose limitations on the operations of their neighbours to an extent greater than would otherwise be the case.”

    Federated Farmers’ President and Science spokesman Dr William Rolleston welcomed these findings.

    “This is not about organic farming versus GM farming. What we can take from this Australian ruling is that all farmers, regardless of what they are farming and how they chose to do so, have a duty of care to make co-existence work and that this fundamentally relies on being good neighbours.”

    If I was an organic farmer, I would want to make co-existence work. After all, the organics industry would have no differentiation, no competitive advantage, if it were not for those who farm in a non-organic way. You actually leverage off them farmerbraun.

    It may interest you to know that our farm could have easily become organic at one point if it were not for one problem (we actually considered it). But gorse spreading from the neighbouring property would almost certainly rule it out. They would have to get rid of all their gorse so it didn’t spread and necessitate us to spray what spread onto our property. I don’t think we’ve got a right to tell them to do that when we do have an effective means of control. It just meant that we had to adopt a different business model.

  54. TraceyS says:

    “And overall the RMA does not give a licence to cause adverse effects outside of one’s property. It does not usually allow them within the boundaries either.”

    Yes it does in practice. Adverse effects can be no more than minor and if they are, must be mitigated effectively. But look around, “no more than minor” must have a very wide and varying definition! Also, people often reach a consensus about what effective mitigation of effects looks like and it would no always be the same as no adverse effects at all.

    Take http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/357852/green-light-new-countdown-mosgiel. Are there no adverse effects at all or have the parties reach consensus that the effects will be managed to an acceptable level through conditions?

  55. farmerbraun says:

    “You say that you brought action for nuisance but did it go to court and was there a judgement? I think previously you have said it was settled outside court.”

    Yes it went to court ; the judgement required the defendant to cease his operation. He sold up.

  56. farmerbraun says:

    I haven’t argued about organic , or halal, or Kosher or any other type of food production.
    I’ve pointed out that the tort of nuisance protects me from actions of my neighbours which might restrict my freedom to farm just as my father and grandfather did, and just as farmers have done all over the world for centuries.

    Having a quality assurance program doesn’t make the farming method novel in any historical way.

    The Australian case is a bit different and may not be over yet. It doesn’t seem relevant to cases of nuisance.

  57. TraceyS says:

    “The Australian case…doesn’t seem relevant to cases of nuisance.”

    How is it not relevant? It failed the tests for both negligence and nuisance.

    “Justice Kenneth Martin dismissed both the Marshes’ causes of action in common law negligence and private nuisance. For private nuisance, his Honour assessed that it had not been shown that there had been any unreasonable interference by Mr Baxter in the Marshes’ use and enjoyment of Eagle Rest.”

    http://www.supremecourt.wa.gov.au/_files/Judgment%20Summary%20-%20Marsh%20v%20Baxter%20(CIV%201561%20of%202012)%2028%20May%202014.pdf

    “I’ve pointed out that the tort of nuisance protects me from actions of my neighbours which might restrict my freedom to farm just as my father and grandfather did…”

    Sure, but I think the above case makes it fairly clear that the tort of nuisance doesn’t protect you from the downstream decisions or actions a third party certifying body…

  58. farmerbraun says:

    The plaintiff failed to make his case.
    That is not precedent – setting in any way.

  59. farmerbraun says:

    From the Federated Farmers site :-

    http://www.fedfarm.org.nz/files/Takings-by-Dan-Riddiford-.pdf

    You will see herein the provisions of the Magna Carta which relate to “freedom to farm”.

  60. TraceyS says:

    “The plaintiff failed to make his case.
    That is not precedent – setting in any way.”

    What is shows is how difficult it is to make a case.

    “You will see herein the provisions of the Magna Carta which relate to “freedom to farm”.

    Freedom to farm cuts both ways surely.

  61. farmerbraun says:

    “Freedom to farm cuts both ways surely.”

    Of course , subject to the tort of nuisance.

  62. farmerbraun says:

    “What is shows is how difficult it is to make a case.”

    Fortunately , nuisance is one of the easiest because the law is so old.

    But , in every case, having the best legal counsel that you can afford , is imperative.
    The recent case cost me over $200, 000 in legal fees over the duration of the action (more than five years).
    But it was well worth it to get the win.

  63. TraceyS says:

    “The recent case cost me over $200, 000 in legal fees over the duration of the action (more than five years).”

    LOL, that’s not difficult?

    Either your business is quite large or you are very tough farmerbraun.

  64. farmerbraun says:

    Nah , we have taken three property rights cases to court and won all of them , including one against some of the “big boys”.
    Rights have to be defended , constantly.

    Wendell Phillips on January 28, 1852.

    “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few.

    The manna of popular liberty must be gathered each day or it is rotten.

    The living sap of today outgrows the dead rind of yesterday.

    The hand entrusted with power becomes, either from human depravity or esprit de corps, the necessary enemy of the people.

    Only by continued oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot; only by unintermitted agitation can a people be sufficiently awake to principle, not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity.”

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