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GM & Conventional Crops Cannot Co-exist - Greens

Keeping genetic modification (GM) free areas alongside GM crops would be as untenable as maintaining possum free areas is now, Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

The recommendations of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, which advocates allowing GM field trials and establishing mechanisms to allow GM crops to coexist with organic and conventional crops, were released by Prime Minister Helen Clark this afternoon.

“It relies on the assumption that a genetically engineered organism will stay where you put it,” Ms Fitzsimons said.

“The Green Party doesn’t accept the recommendations. We were prepared to compromise, but this goes too far.”

The Green Party have supported allowing GM research in the laboratory, but opposes the release of GM organisms into the environment.

“I don’t consider it a balanced report. I find it hard to imagine them doing anything to take us further towards a genetic engineering future,” Ms Fitzsimons said.

Earlier, the Prime Minister, the Minister for the Environment Marian Hobbs and Science and Technology Minister Pete Hodgson all called the report balanced.

“We are not taking an extreme view, we are taking a moderate view” Ms Fitzsimons said.

Ms Fitzsimons said the Greens hoped to discuss the recommendations with the Government as soon as possible.

The Government is giving itself three months to consider the recommendations.

Mr Hodgson said the Government would consider requesting an extension of the voluntary moratorium on GM, due to end on August 31.

Ms Fitzsimons dismissed suggestions that the Greens may completely withdraw their support for the Labour/Alliance coalition in the house over the issue. “There are a whole lot of degrees of support for the government,” she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said that while the Green Party is disappointed with the recommendations of the commission, it hasn’t been a waste of time because public awareness of the issues has been raised.

“This has been our number one campaigning issue, its not going to go away.”

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