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Labour Must Keep GE Election Promise - Greens

Labour must keep GE election promise

Officials are urging the Government to break an election promise on genetic engineering, Green Party Safe Food Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

"Rather than the promised Royal Commission of Inquiry into genetic engineering, cabinet is now considering a highly watered down and less costly version such as a three-person ministerial advisory committee," she said. "This is a `Yes Minister' cop-out.

"Labour promised a Royal Commission last year and this was confirmed in the Speech from the Throne after the election, repeating that such a commission would be established."

New Zealand's main genetic engineers were Crown agencies such as AgResearch and the Crop and Food Research Institute.

"It must be remembered that the public service unlocked the back-door and turned on the light for GE scientists while New Zealanders were asleep 10 years ago," Ms Kedgley said.

The Green Party believed that the only acceptable structure was a Royal Commission chaired by a High Court judge, which was independent and transparent. It would comprise a wide cross section of the New Zealand community in its membership of around five commissioners.

Any person should be able to make representations and be heard, and the commission should have a small staff of independent technical consultants.

A moratorium on GE applications should be imposed until the commission's recommendations had been implemented.

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