Tuesday, 24 April 2018 08:55

Judge slams Federated Farmers

Written by  Peter Burke
Feds president Katie Milne says she’s taken aback by the judgment. Feds president Katie Milne says she’s taken aback by the judgment.

An Environment Court judge has slammed Federated Farmers for pursuing a case regarding limitation on the use of GE in Northland. 

In an unprecedented move, Judge Laurie Newhook said in his summary that costs are “reserved”, meaning the other parties -- Northland Regional Council and Whangarei District Council -- could claim costs against Federated Farmers. Normally in such cases costs are not awarded; this case looms as an exception.

Judge Newhook says “despite losing a jurisdictional argument in this court on its own appeal and losing its appeal to the High Court and its substantive appeal to the Court of Appeal and its substantive appeal to this court, Federated Farmers has endeavoured to run somewhat similar arguments on the papers before me in the current stage of the Whangarei District Council (WDC) appeal. These things collectively seem quite remarkable.”

Essentially, when Feds lost the Northland case it tried to re-litigate the arguments by joining an appeal by WDC for a minor wording change which the judge agreed to.

Judge Newhook describes the Feds submission in this latest case as “curious to say the least” and that he agrees with the counsel for the Soil and Health that the Federation’s submissions were “rather difficult to follow in logic”.

He says the Feds’ argument that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) should only be controlled by central government is wrong because under the Resource Management Act regional councils have the power to control GMOs through their regional policy statements and plans. 

The tenor of the judgement suggests that the judge is perplexed or exasperated by the arguments run in this latest case by the federation. 

He concludes by saying that the submission by Feds is “largely a re-run of the arguments about jurisdiction previously heard in this court and in the High Court and ruled upon. It is not open to Federated Farmers to run these arguments again especially in view of the binding findings of the High Court and I will not consider that part of the submission further”.

The decision by Judge Newhook to open up the issue of costs is almost unprecedented and suggests his frustration at the nature of their appeal.

More like this

VLG receivership causes dismay

Canterbury farmer and former Federated Farmers dairy leader Willy Leferink says farmers shouldn't let banks run their businesses.

Strong voice needed

North Otago farmer Jane Smith believes continual appeasement to government by industry-good bodies is not serving the sector well and it's time for a mega-merger of primary sector advocacy groups.

Open MIQ spaces for farm workers

Farmers want the Government to open available space in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) to bring in much-needed workers for the primary industries.

Ex Feds boss's grape escape

For years, as a sheep farmer Bruce Wills spent hundreds of hours with a hand-piece cleaning up daggy sheep. Now he's spending hundreds of hours with a pair of secateurs pruning grape vines.

National

Farm consultant bags award

Sam Vivian-Greer, a farm consultant at BakerAg in Wairarapa, has been named the winner of the 2021 New Zealand Zanda…

Bumper price rises cemented

With just one more Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction left for the 2020-21 season, bumper dairy price gains recorded in…

Industry backs recycling scheme

An on-farm plastic recycling initiative, Plasback, seems to be gaining momentum as the agricultural industry moves to reduce its environmental…

Machinery & Products

Let there be light

With shortening days meaning the need for good lighting is even more important out on the farm, it might be…

Honda to quit Oz ATV market

Confirming a move signalled over a year ago, in response to a directive by the Australian federal government that all…

Pasture management made easy

Those looking to use direct seeding to repair grass paddocks or plant catch crops might want to take a closer…

Shift fuel easily

Designed to fit wide-bodied utes with familiar names like Ranger, Hilux, BT-50, Triton, Navara, Dmax and Amarok, Silvan's new diesel…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Less-gassy bulls

There may soon be another tool available to cut your climate footprint - select less-gassy bulls out of a catalogue.

Rock and a hard place

OPINION: Appease the Chinese and protect your export trade, like dairy products, or infuriate them and face sanctions.

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter