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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Sticky Situations resolved by mediation

Many people (including us) are moving to a more conscious co-existence with the environment. Reduced waste (especially single use plastics) and organic meat or vegetarian food. The debate over genetically modified food is bound to be re-ignited as we move away from the safe-guards of the EU so it’s interesting to note that there’s a GM debate being mediated in New Zealand’s Northland.

New Zealand has been fiercely protective of its environment (they even washed my boots before I got through customs on my last visit) so when the Proposed Northland Regional Plan is being updated to possibly include Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) you would expect debate from interested parties.

Far North District Council and Whangarei’s appeal is against the Northland Regional Council’s dumping of the previous bar on the use of GMOs in favour of an inclusive approach.

As mediator will be an Environment Court Commissioner from Auckland who will review the current evidence and arguments on both sides before helping them reach a way forward, if possible.

Those pro-GM including Life Science Network and members of the Federated Farmers of New Zealand will be represented alongside those against any variation of the previous precautionary approach.

It’s a difficult debate as GMOs potentially offer assistance to food production in the face of the threat of climate change but their use has potentially unknown consequences to other organisms who either compete with or interact with those GMOs.

In any event mediation is much the best way to debate rather than court proceedings.

Sticking with New Zealand flora and fauna the mediation between the owners of Sticky Forest and Queenstown Lakes District Council has been delayed.

Mike Beresford a representative for the Maori land owners is appealing against the refusal for permission to rezone some of the forest for development.

The forest (a pine plantation to the north of Wanaka) has many kilometres of bike track developed and used by Bike Wanaka their spokesman Simon Telfer said the delay would allow them "to continue to come up with more ideas of how the beneficiaries can receive economic recompense while Wanaka retains a much loved green space".

The parties expect to be able to commence mediation in June.

In a step toward final resolution court appointed mediators Sadhana Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde have helped the opposing sides disputing the use of a one-way route connecting Noida with Kalindi Kunj in Shaheen Bagh, designated road number 9, to agree for a temporary opening.

The police have said the opening of the road is a start to resolving the issue with the use of the road but one officer sounded a warning note “This does not solve even 1 per cent of the traffic problem. The main traffic is still blocked.”

Traffic and parking “wars” are commonly matters that clients bring to mediation at Northwest Mediation, there’s generally ways around the problems but involves listening to the arguments and the underlying feelings of those involved, as yet we’ve not had any street protests close a road but we’ve been involved in cases of parking blocking access and disputes over parking space rights.

I don’t agree with the tone of this piece about the three largest talent agencies in the US and the Writers Guild of America going to court-ordered mediation.

The writer (of the article) suggests that because the parties are at loggerheads there won’t be much movement, and not simply because the deadline isn’t until Christmas this year.

The mediator Gail Migdal Title will naturally have a lot to deal with given the amounts and egos involved but when parties are entrenched is when we at Northwest Mediation have found mediation is best employed.

A good amount of time before a deadline is even better, more time to explore reflect and flex possible solutions, nothing prevents the parties discussing matters in confidence in mediation while judgments on interim matters are awaited.

Mediators (and certainly us at Northwest Mediation) start work from the first phone call with clients all the way to the end of the mediation process, deadlines help parties focus but mediators use the time before them effectively to find ways forward.

Staying with the arts Deborah Dugan’s claim against the Recording Academy and it’s former CEO for rape, discrimination and corruption led to her being suspended as current CEO and is now entering mediation to try and find a resolution that may, or though probably won’t, result in her being re-appointed.

Little is known about the discussions but given the boycott of the Grammy’s by notables in support of Dugan including Jay-Z, Beyonce and Taylor Swift it’s unlikely that any settlement while remaining confidential will not be the subject of continued speculation for some time.

As we’ve said before choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, timeously, and with less stress and costs than going to your solicitor. You have an interest in the outcome the sooner you get round the mediation table the quicker you can move forward and avoid the grilling a cross examination in court would put you through.

By having a deep and meaningful discussions with parties the mediator elicits what the true “red-lines” are and where there is the potential for compromise, it is with this structured period of reflection that the parties are then able to reach an accord.

The flexible nature of mediation and the possible outcomes make it an ideal way to resolve disputes in an ever changing world and the open nature of discussions in mediation whilst remaining confidential allows all sides to engage fully in the process and understand the needs of all involved allowing parties to reach a conclusion which both sides can live with and move on.

There are so many situations which could have been resolved by early intervention of mediation it continues to surprise me the lengths the public (and some lawyers) will go to avoid referral.

Whether you need a mediator to help out with a construction matter in the Northwest, or council’s plans in Cheshire, a civil mediator in London, a commercial mediator in Manchester, a dispute resolution for your family in Liverpool, a neighbourhood mediation in Stockport, then our mediators at Northwest Mediation can help.

Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes, civil mediation or inheritance, wills and probate arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at

neighbour mediation; commercial dispute resolution; civil mediation; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance wills probate mediation; property mediator; civil mediator; civil litigation; fast track mediation; injury mediation

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