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GE moratorium addresses environment and health

Hon Jim Anderton
Deputy Prime Minister

News release

17 April 2000

Alliance pleased GE moratorium addresses environment and health risks

Alliance leader and Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton paid tribute today to Alliance MP Phillida Bunkle for promoting the GE issue in Parliament.

At the announcement of the GE Royal Commission and moratorium today, Jim Anderton said Phillida Bunkle repeatedly brought Members Bill's into Parliament on the GE issue.

"Her Member's Bill to establish a Royal Commission and to create a moratorium while it was under way placed the issue firmly on the political agenda.

"The Royal Commission and moratorium are a response to the environmental and health risks of GE technology. The Royal Commission has been established to assess and report on these risks. The moratorium in place during the Royal Commission will eliminate the risks of GE organisms spreading through the eco-system.

"The Alliance is pleased that the environment and health risks have at last been addressed."

The Alliance rejected a claim by Sue Kedgely in the Press today that the moratorium amounted to a 'Clayton's moratorium.'

"The Green party stated in writing when the moratorium was proposed that 'no trials should be allowed that are capable of producing flowers or seeds.' The Greens argued for a condition requiring destruction of plants before first flowering. That is exactly the moratorium we have got.

"Under the terms of the moratorium it will not be possible for genetically engineered materials to escape into the wild.

"It is intellectually dishonest to propose an Inquiry into genetic engineering and then try to ban it all anyway before the Inquiry has reported. There is no justification for banning GE technology altogether when we are setting up a Royal Commission to investigate the issue. The balanced approach is to eliminate the risk of escape that could pre-judge the Royal Commission's findings, and that is the approach the Government has taken," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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