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“Eco City” Opposed To Genetic Engineering

15 November 2001


MEDIA RELEASE (For Immediate Release)

“Eco City” Opposed To Genetic Engineering

Waitakere City Council last night signalled its strong opposition to genetic engineering.

At a meeting last night Councillors voted to declare the City, the fifth largest City in New Zealand, free from genetic engineering field trials and also to oppose the genetic modification of food items.

Mayor Bob Harvey says that leaves the way open for legitimate, and strictly controlled, laboratory research, particularly in the medical sector.

“We are clearly opposed to any form of field trials in this City,” he says. “The evidence is that these things can get out of control and once released into the soil and the natural food chain we believe there could be catastrophic health and environmental effects.”

Council staff will now look at ways of giving practical effect to the stance. “We may be able to look at our district plan to see how we can control GE related activities. And we will certainly be lobbying the government to tread very carefully down the GE path.”

Mr Harvey says that since announcing his opposition to genetic modification he has received “huge support” from around the country. Last night a neighbourhood petition supportive of the declaration was presented to the Council.

Last night the Council also decided to develop an organics industry “cluster”. The City already focuses much of its economic development work in the areas of film, boatbuilding and tourism.

“We believe the organics industry is a major industry of the future,” Mayor Harvey says, and Waitakere wants to attract national and international investment in it.”

ENDS

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