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Southland Times Eckhoff Column

Southland Times Eckhoff Column

Friday 20th Oct 2000 Gerry Eckhoff Article -- Other

Farmers risk being left behind if they fail to make their voices heard on the genetic modification debate.

The Green Party has already hijacked pole position at the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification and are using their special interest group status at the hearings to play politics.

It is obvious from media reports so far that the Greens have hoodwinked the commission and are simply indulging in sensationalism. With their closed-minded attitude, they have a distinct advantage over any others who hold a contrary point of view. Something must be done to bring balance to the debate.

The Royal Commission process is all about numbers and the result may not depend on the quality of submissions. We need farmers and rural interest groups from every area to make submissions. They do not have to be experts, just normal sensible people putting forward their points of view.

We can not afford to stay put on the tractor seat and leave it solely up to groups like Federated farmers to put our case to the commission.

Genetic modification is not about putting an extra leg on a sheep or cow. It is very much about enhancing the sustainability of rural communities. Research in the agricultural sector over the years has also led to breakthroughs in the treatment of a variety of crippling or life-threatening diseases.

If the ‘sky is falling’ brigade have their way, New Zealand’s position in the world as a leader in agricultural research and production will be reduced to a laughable third world status. The argument being put forward by the Green Party is based more on hysterical ideology, than sound facts. It is nothing short of a totally selfish ‘to hell with you I’m all right Jack’ attitude.

A lack of understanding and interest by farmers saw us left out of the loop during the debate on the controversial Resource Management Act.

We can not allow the same thing to happen with the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.

ENDS

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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