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Regional Council Fails Aucklanders On GE

In the last meeting of the term, Auckland Regional Councillors, in their capacity as guardian of Auckland's environment, have inelegantly shunted aside the issue of genetically modified food.

ARC Councillor Jack Henderson had moved to recommend to Government that the moratorium on the trialling and cropping of genetically modified food be continued past date, but the resolution was amended out of existence due to the elections.

"The Prime Minister has sought to inform herself on economic advantages of continuing GE the moratorium. The ARC should at least discuss whether to agree."

"I wanted to give ARC Councillors the opportunity to debate the moratorium at the last Council meeting, while it is relevant to the October 31 expiry date. Sadly they failed."

"Councillors need to understand there is more to life than local body elections. GE and the opinion of important European and Asian markets, not to mention human health, are big, fast-moving issues happening independently of our little Council world."

Jack Henderson was critical of the move by right-wing ACRN Councillors Patricia Thorp in amending the resolution to effectively negate the purpose of the resolution, and Phil Warren in accepting it. Her amendment won 9 votes to 4.

"Basically the resolution was put off indefinitely. On the Centre-Left we call it a C&R amendment and it is a traditional way of stifling inconvenient debate."

"The country Tories bought it. They actually refused to discuss the issue on the basis that they were ignorant of the facts."

"In putting off the issue past the October 31 date Members refused to face up to their public responsibility to at least debate the issue. This is failure in leadership writ large."

Only Councillors Mike Lee, Carl Harding, Ruth Norman and Jack Henderson voted to preserve the moratorium, which seeks to preserve our clean natural image abroad.

"Our minority opinion was that continuing the status quo on precautionary grounds is the only honest response for an environmental body to take. Anybody should be able to work that out. It's not even banning GE. It's saying, "Wait until our customers decide.""

"The ARC is meant to be our Environmental Protection Agency but it has been a sad three years for our environment. The field officers try hard but right-wing politicians young and old prefer PR to action. They have no soul, and stifle those who do."

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