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Eckhoff Gives Farmers A Rural Rark Up

Farmers must get off the tractor seats and start expressing their views on genetic modification if they want a balanced outcome from the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, said ACT MP and farmer Gerry Eckhoff.

“It is not good enough to simply rely on Federated Farmers submissions.

“At an Invercargill public meeting run by the Royal Commission, at most, fifteen people attended (at one stage there were only eight). If farmers don’t make a concerted effort to have their say their livelihoods could be ruined by unscientific propaganda.

“Federated Farmers will do their level best to represent rural farming and a rural perspective, yet the balance is tilting very much in favour of those who wish to stop any agricultural development through technology.

“Biotechnology holds the key to the future of sustainable land based industries, and not just in animal production. The huge growth in South Island dairying will become increasingly dependent on biotechnology as environmental restrictions inevitably decrease milk flow while the timber industry is expanding at a phenomenal rate due to scientific advances, but we are in danger of losing the research benefits to overseas companies.

“The Royal Commission process is a numbers game and the result may not depend entirely on the 'quality' of submissions. Unless rural New Zealand motivates and presents itself to the Commission we are in danger of losing by default.

“A leaked e-mail shows that the Royal Forest and Bird Protection is begging for scientific studies on the Internet to back up their organisations publicly stated anti-GE view. One can fairly conclude that the New Zealand Forest and Bird will only include in its submission the anti-GE lab reports and ignore all opposing data.

“The New Zealand rural sector is staring down the barrel of scientific oblivion. However, if farmers are too busy to have their voice heard, they will have nobody but themselves to blame if the rural economy is kneecapped,” said Gerry Eckhoff.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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