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Wine Industry Must Rally For GE-Free Marlborough

Green Marlborough MP Ian Ewen-Street is urging Marlborough's wine producers to join the campaign for Marlborough to declare itself a GE-free region.

Mr Ewen-Street said wine production was crucial to the prosperity of Marlborough and that the demand for New Zealand wine could be seriously compromised in international markets if our clean, green, GE-free status was undermined by the release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment.

"Already there are moves overseas to genetically engineer grape vines and, if that technology was ever to end up here, the international reputation of our wine would be shot to pieces," he said.

"Wine producers - like our farmers and horticulturalists - thrive on the back of our clean, green international image and, as such, they have the most to lose from any changes to that image."

Mr Ewen-Street said he would be writing to all wine producers in the Marlborough region this week advising them on what a GE-free region actually meant and how it could be achieved.

Following an informal chat with mayor Gerald Hope last week Mr Ewen-Street would also be making a more formal approach to him next week.

The Royal Commission into Genetic Modification found that 'little is yet known about the environmental impacts of genetically modified organisms' and recommended that 'ERMA require research on environmental impacts on soil and ecosystems before the release of genetically modified crops is approved'.

"Given these comments from the Royal Commission I challenge National MP Lynda Scott to make her position on this issue clear to the people of Marlborough, including the region's wine producers," he said.

"Marlborough has so much to gain through continuing to be seen in the eyes of the world as natural, healthy and wholesome. On the other hand we stand to lose so much through the release of genetically engineered organisms into our environment.

"In standing up for the future of their industry and their international reputation, Marlborough's wine producers must play a real role in keeping our region GE-free," he said.

"I hope all wine producers around the country also push hard for their regions to remain GE-free.

"I call on all Marlborough wine producers and grape growers to get firmly and vocally behind the campaign to keep Marlborough GE-free. This is where our competitive advantage lies because consumers around the world are prerpared to pay high premiums to avoid genetically engineered or potentially contaminated food."

Ends


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