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Voluntary Moratorium Avoids Debate in House

3rd February 2000

Voluntary Moratorium Avoids Debate in House - Greens

A voluntary moratorium on commercial releases of genetically engineered organisms is intended to circumvent parliamentary discussion on whether to extend the ban to field trials, Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

New Zealand Life Sciences Network, a network of biotechnology and scientific organisations, made the offer of a one year voluntary moratorium on commercial releases of genetically engineered organisms today.

But Ms Fitzsimons said the offer was made in order to avoid the Government having to legislate to fill its election promise of a moratorium.

"Legislation would inevitably involve a discussion of extending the ban to field trials, which the biotechnology industry is keen to avoid."

Ms Fitzsimons said that a moratorium should be imposed on new outdoor field trials as well as on commercial releases of genetically engineered organisms, until the Royal Commission on genetic engineering has reported to the Government.

"There is now substantial evidence that is it is not possible to achieve 100 per cent containment in field trials. We should not take the risk of these crops and animals spreading into the wild until the Royal Commission has accessed the implications for our economy and our environment."

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 07 868 6641 (Thursday), 07 868 6511 (Friday) Gina Dempster, Press Secretary: 04 470 6679

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