Rural round-up

Call for review of genetically modified tech regulation in NZ -Nona Pelletier:

It is time for a full regulatory review of genetically modified organisms and technologies (GM), according to a groundbreaking report by the Productivity Commission.

“The current regulation of GM does not reflect technological advances,” the report said, adding there had been no review of GM covered by the 1996 Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act since 2001.

The report titled, New Zealand firms: Reaching for the frontier, said it was good practice to regularly review regulatory regimes, to ensure they remained fit for purpose, accommodated new technologies and did not stifle innovation.

The Climate Change Commission made a similar recommendation in its recent draft advice to government regarding GM. . . 

Feds – overdue GM discussion offers GHG solution:

As reports on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions continue to be rolled out, it was the government’s reaction to another report – the Productivity Commission’s recommendations on genetic engineering – that caught Federated Farmers’ attention.

“Farmers are intensely interested in further reducing their world-leading GHG emissions footprint per kilogram of food produced, but the Federation has been saying for several years now that we need new tools to do so,” Feds president and climate change spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said.

“Genetic modification is one of those new technologies that offers exciting potential.”

Last year, the Productivity Commission’s ‘Reaching for the Frontier’ final report said the Government should undertake a full review of the regulation of genetic modification (GM), to ensure it is fit for purpose and supports domestic innovation. . . 

Majority of Dunstan Downs to be preserved for conservation under tenure review :

The majority of high country station Dunstan Downs across Canterbury * and Otago is set to be preserved for conservation.

A tenure review agreement will see around 12,250 hectares, or 99 percent of the station become conservation land.

Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) head of crown property Sonya Wikitera said public feedback informed the decision to make more of the pastoral lease conservation land and improve public access to the area.

Wikitera said it was significantly higher than the 9500 hectares proposed to become conservation land under the preliminary proposal. . . 

Decision to approve new export log fumigant :

A decision-making committee of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved an application for a new gas to fumigate export logs and timber.

EDN is a new tool to kill common pests found in wood. It is a potential alternative to methyl bromide, which is now heavily restricted.

EDN is already approved for use in Australia, South Korea, Malaysia, and Russia. The Czech-based manufacturer, Draslovka, applied to the EPA for approval to import the gas into Aotearoa New Zealand.

“The EPA’s role in regulating hazardous substances involves carefully balancing environmental, health, economic, and cultural factors. The application process for EDN has been lengthy due to the complex technical considerations required for the safe use of the fumigant,” says Dr Chris Hill, General Manager of the EPA’s Hazardous Substances group. . . 

Forest owners call for forest trade mission to India following approval of new fumigant for log exports :

The Forest Owners Association wants a delegation of government ministers to urgently go to India to try to re-open the export log market there, following the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority approval for EDN fumigation of export log stacks.

The EPA has just announced it has approved the use of ethanedinitrile as a replacement for methyl bromide to fumigate logs in New Zealand before they are exported.

EDN is a far more environmentally friendly fumigant. It is effective on insects and pathogens, but breaks down quickly in the environment. It is neither a greenhouse gas nor does it deplete the ozone layer.

India however still stipulates that methyl bromide must be used for log imports from New Zealand. No other fumigants are currently approved by India. . . 

opportunity for new entrants, the report highlights some of the key concerns and sets out a series of recommendations to governments to address the issues. . . 

Sydney Royal 2022: Bathurst’s Jessica Fernley named 2022 Rural Achiever – Billy Jupp:

BATHURST’S Jessica Fernley has been named the 2022 Sydney Royal Easter Show Rural Achiever, standing out in field of eight impressive finalists.

This year’s winner was announced at a function held in the Sky Deck, Olympic Park, on Tuesday night, which capped off an action-packed week for the Rural Achiever finalists.

The RAS Rural Achiever award is a state-wide program run by the RAS of NSW to help shine a light on emerging young leaders aged 20-29, who are focused on contributing to their communities and regional Australia.

Having recently completed a bachelor’s degree rural science at University of New England Jessica is currently completing a masters in global development through James Cook University, with the hopes of helping build resilience in farming communities. . . 

* Dunstan Downs is on the right side of the Waitaki River, that puts it in Otago, not Canterbury.

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