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Hamilton City council tangled in GE ethics


27 August 2000

City council tangled in GE ethics

The Green Party today questioned whether Hamilton residents are aware that their city council is a paid-up member of pro-GE lobby group Life Sciences Network.

"There are serious ethical questions in a city council, which is supposed to represent the best interests of all their residents, spending rate-payers money to promote genetic engineering," said Ms Fitzsimons.

Membership of the Life Sciences Network costs $3500 + GST per member. Life Sciences Network is an umbrella lobby group which aims to keep genetically engineered food on New Zealand shelves, and to advance genetic engineering research in laboratories and commercial release of genetically modified crops.

"I call on the mayor of Hamilton to tell us whether the council's pro-GE stance represents the views of the majority of their ratepayers, and to explain what consultation process they used to determine this.

"The Life Sciences Network backs the commercial release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment," said Ms Fitzsimons. "I guess we can take it from this that the majority of the residents of Hamilton are in favour of commercial release too."

Ms Fitzsimons said she was interested to see that Hamilton City Council was the only council to apply for and gain interested person status for the Royal Commission into genetic engineering, allowing them to present a submission and to cross-examine other submitters.

"I hope that the Hamilton City Council submission to the Royal Commission will represent the majority of views in the broader Hamilton community, not just those of scientists who have already committed themselves to a future in genetic engineering research," she said.

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: (07) 868 6641 or 025 586 068 Gina Dempster, Press secretary: (04) 470 6723 or 021 1265 289


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