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Fed. Farmers' Questions Waitakere GE Free Decision

16 November 2001 PR174/01
Federated Farmers' Questions Waitakere GE Free Decision

Federated Farmers' Auckland President Colin Bull has questioned Waitakere City Council's decision to declare itself "food and field" GE Free.

"It isn't the role of local government to make such decisions. The Government, in response to the Greens, held the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification in order to help decide the way forward for all New Zealanders. Surely the decisions of central government must have some bearing on how local government responds to the issue?" asked Mr Bull.

"Federated Farmers would also be extremely concerned if the Waitakere City Council attempted to use its district plan processes to impose this unjustified and arbitrary decision on its ratepayers."

"Secondly, I am interested to hear how the Waitakere City Council plans to police this decision - will it check each ratepayer's kitchen cupboard and vegetable garden for GM food? Will the City Council set up border controls to check incoming vehicles and goods? Quite frankly, I think this declaration is irrational and unworkable."

"Lastly, I have to question Mr Harvey's comments that "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". What evidence is Mr Harvey referring to?"

"A recent study by InterNutrition (Switzerland) found that from the field studies carried out so far, transgenic, pest resistant crops do not confirm the environmental risks predicted by critics. It is also useful to note that the study found that shortly after introducing the transgenic plants there were proven environmental benefits," concluded Mr Bull.

ENDS For further information: Colin Bull (09) 292-8758 Richard Gardner (09) 379-0057

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