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

Feds never was anti-NAIT

Some assertions made in the Rural News editorial, ‘Get with the programme’ on April 3, 2018 were unfair, wildly untrue and demand a response.

Emissions trading scheme threat looms

All farmers should feel threatened by the possibility that agriculture will come under the emissions trading scheme (ETS), says Federated Farmers climate change spokesman Andrew Hoggard.

Feds caned by Environment Court

Federated Farmers faces the prospect of having to pay costs to the Northland Regional Council, the Whangarei District Council and Soil and Health after its failed attempt to re-litigate the issue of GE (genetic engineering).

 
 

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Oat deer!

Vegan oat milk is so popular in the US that coffee shops are running out of stock.

Top meaty facts

The Great British Beef Week, organised by UK Ladies in Beef, emphasises the nation’s locally produced food. Here are some…

 
 

» Connect with Dairy News