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Scoop Feedback: A Grower Speaks Up On GE

In This Edition: A Small Grower’s Perspective On GE Dangers - The Injustice of the Paid Parental Leave Bill - Re: The Terry & Guy Show - A Labour Truism Perhaps


A Small Grower’s Perspective On GE Dangers

Dear Editor,

The Genetic Modification debate has a “Direct Parallel” with the major pollution problems we already have in New Zealand with hormone herbicides in the environment, and which we don’t have the legislation or political will to deal with. An example of this is spray drift and pesticides in drinking water.

We have hormone spray drift and water contamination that can travel many kilometres. Would it be any different with G.M.O.’s?

1. Overseas there is gene stacking in G.M. plants, similar to bioaccumulation of pesticides in plants and water supplies.
2. With pesticides we get increased tolerance by the surviving pests.
With G.M.O.s the other tolerant species of pests increase.
3. We have approximately 2500 registered pesticides – will we end up with 2500 registered

There can be bioaccumulation and combinations of pesticides in animals and plants, rivers and waterways. With G.E., as more and more products are developed; we can end up with thousands of combinations in those same places.. One thing about pesticides is that most modern ones break down in the environment over a short period of time. With G.M. products they are living, growing organisms that appear to be able to transfer their active payload and increase their effect exponentially.

Can we be assured that once the products end up in the water supply and out to sea that they won’t mix and mingle and also not be taken up by the sea life.

Huge amounts of PR spin by multi-nationals are aimed at profit – which is the role of business. Integrity, ethics and commonsense must come from the people/government.

The agricultural research scientists in New Zealand have done tremendous work establishing New Zealand as a world leader, but there are many branches to agricultural science, and G.M. is one small part. It is being promoted to the detriment of other branches resulting in the loss of huge amounts of agricultural knowledge and experience, which is almost irreplaceable. We are almost creating a knowledge vacuum in the areas we previously had a knowledge wave.

The idea, that increasing production of crops helps farmers does not seem to fit with what is happening in practice, which is, more production means oversupply, giving less returns, causing many small farmers to suffer very badly and be driven from their farms worldwide.

As growers, we see major benefits in being G.E. free at least until the benefits of G.E. are proven.
This can happen in the form of:
1. G.E. free exports, which is gaining a premium worldwide.
2. By promoting New Zealand as an uncontaminated storage and propagating nursery, (an Ark) for overseas governments who want to ensure seed purity of indigenous crops.
3. By increased tourism from travellers who do not want to travel to GE countries and who could be assured of our commitment to being GE free.

New Zealand has much to benefit from retaining our current GE Free status and I know of many growers who are committed to promoting a continuation of this.

John Hamilton
Commercial Tomato Grower


The Injustice of the Paid Parental Leave Bill

In order to demonstrate the inherent injustice of Laila Harre’s ill-conceived paid parental leave bill I present 4 real life cases. The names have been omitted to protect the privacy of the people involved, however it should be made clear that these cases involve real people.

Case 1.
Couple living in a $600,000 property in an exclusive suburb in Auckland.
Father to-be works as a senior executive for NZ branch of a fashion related industry, earns 100K+. Mother currently working in a high level sales position earning between 50-60K. Baby will be born later this year and mother will pick up the paid parental leave allowance.

Case 2.
Couple both working. Father to-be works in the IT industry, earning 90K plus. Mother works in fashion sector earning approximately 30K. Comfortable in their own home in middle range suburb in Wellington. Mother will not return to work. Baby will be born later this year and mother will pick up the paid parental leave allowance.

Case 3.
Father to-be (to twins) working, earning approximately 45K. Mother currently unable to work as she spends days at home looking after their 2 year old special needs child. Currently renting in a Wellington suburb. On current income cannot afford to purchase own home. Husband can only take 2 weeks off (on holiday pay) to help partner who will undoubtedly give birth to the twins via caesarean section. Father (or Mother) not eligible for paid parental leave.

Case 4
Father to-be working in hospitality industry, income approximately 35K. Mother had been in the process of establishing own small (sole trader) business when she became pregnant. The business in all likelihood will wind up upon birth of the child. Couple renting in lower end of the range suburb in Wellington. Father cannot take any leave without risk of losing job (working in on a casual based contract). Mother wants to stay at home to raise baby for 6 months. Not eligible for paid parental leave.

As we clearly see we have four couples about to have their lives changed with (hopefully) normal healthy bouncing babies, each in very different financial situations. The first two on high joint incomes between 160K+ and around 130K, already living in comfortable (if not luxurious) living arrangements being eligible for paid parental leave – lets be honest, clearly these couples do not need the help although they are entitled to it and of course they will collect it. The second two couples, both on single, average to low incomes being considerably disadvantaged due to the inherent injustice in the bill. It is clear the second two couples are the ones who require the help. Due to the poor conception of the bill they will not be eligible.

The paid parental leave bill is a joke! I have no doubt Harre had good intentions however these cases, typical of cases across the country demonstrate a clear and immediate requirement to have the bill amended to pick up the people that really need the help.

Steve McKinlay


Re: The Terry & Guy Show

Let me quote:

"That why Bluegreens urge every New Zealander to consign the Green Party to the backwoods where they belong," Mr Dunleavy concluded."

"Guy points to [New Zealand's] economic failure.......during the decade of the 90s [and compares this] with the performance of several other small countries."

My suggestion is that it's the National Party that should be consigned to the compost heaps of Remuera, Karori and Fendalton.

The 1990s they say...? Poor economic performance? Let me see, October 1990, Farmer Jim sweeps to power and installs Baroness Ruth in the control room of the economy...the National Party manages to cling to power, come Hell or high Winston, for nine long years...(of economic stagnation)

But wait, they did let us choose a new electoral system! Hooray!!

Another quote:

"...bogged-down economies are divided societies with no strong, shared social vision."

Divided societies? Hello Rob! Hello Roger! Hello Ruth!

Stephen Walker


A Labour Truism Perhaps

Dear Sir

Putting the blame on jockeying between the minor parties for Labour's fall in support, Helen Clark said yesterday: "I think we're heading for a minority coalition government."

Another case of "Errors have been made. Others will be blamed." or "It was'nt me"

Mirek Marcanik


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