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GM Royal Commission: Announcement, Reaction, The Future – Kirsty Robinson Dies – Paraglider Crash – Geraldine Murder – Lake Murder Charges

GM ROYAL COMMISSION - ANNOUNCEMENT: A six million dollar Royal Commission of Inquiry into Genetic Modification has rejected the idea of a GE Free New Zealand. Scientists are pleased. The Greens are not. The PM says the report is thorough and inclusive. The major theme, she says, is of preserving opportunities. The commission says GE should be allowed, but recommends increased safeguards, strengthened Maori input, and a new bio-ethics committee. Environment Minister Marian Hobbs says the report contains what NZ wants. The government will have to decide on what to do about a voluntary GM field trial moratorium.

GM ROYAL COMMISSION - REACTION: Today’s go ahead will force the opponents of GE to adopt plan B says Jane Young. The Greens said it was hard to imagine a document that was so GE friendly. ACT MP Ken Shirley and Gerry Eckhoff defied security and went into a special briefing on the report after a contretemps. The Greens say the commission has chickened out on key questions. The ACT party say they are pleased with its finding. The National Party’s Nick Smith says it is a crushing defeat for the Greens, “they have been hung by their own dreadlocks”. The Green Party is unwilling to give unconditional support for the Government following the announcement, saying that they never did anyway. Q: What can the Greens do? A: They can make a lot of noise. This could be an ideal thing to go to an election on. On the other hand if the government were to want to legislate for this report then National and ACT look like they would support them. Q: How will it go down with Maori? A: They say there has been lots of consultation with Maori, but in the end, nothing changes. It remains to see how that will go down.

GM ROYAL COMMISSION – THE FUTURE: What of the future? Crop and Food Research in Canterbury has been experimenting with GE potatoes and wants to hold farm size field trials. The potato research continues because it began before a voluntary moratorium began. Other experiments underway include GE cows with human genes. MS sufferer Graeme Sinclair has welcomed the Royal Commission’s report saying it gives him hope that a cure for MS may be found. However if the government gives the green light to field trials it is clear that commercial release of GE crops will still be several years away.

KIRSTY ROBINSON DIES: The survivor of a boating tragedy that killed her father and two friends, Kirsty Robinson, has died in a car accident when a car she was a passenger in crashed into a tree. Robinson survived several hours in the water after a boat she was in capsized in the Bay of Plenty. After the accident she campaigned for road safety. Te Puke High School has offered the school hall for her funeral.

PARAGLIDER CRASH: A passenger on a two person paraglider has been airlifed to Dunedin Hospital after crashing into the ground.

GERALDINE MURDER: The 65-year-old Geraldine murder victim went to a service station before he died, police say. The man was found stabbed to death in his car in the carpark behind a Geraldine pub.

LAKE MURDER CHARGES: A father and son appeared in court today charged with the murder of hitchiker Jason Johnson. The arrests came as a result of piecing together small bits of information according to police. The men accused of his murder are from Mokai, a settlement near where Johnson’s body was found dumped in a lake.

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