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Napier joins Nelson as GE-Free

20 September 2001

Napier joins Nelson as GE-Free

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons is delighted that Napier last night became the second city in New Zealand to declare itself GE-Free.

The Napier council accepted a majority proposal from their planning and regulatory committee to follow Nelson's lead and become a GE-Free zone.

"This is a clear message to the Government that local councils are in touch with what the people living in their areas want. The overwhelming majority of New Zealanders don't want to eat genetically engineered food, and they don't want genetically engineered organisms released into their backyard.

"I hope very much that the Government will listen to all the diverse voices in the community that are calling for genetic engineering to be kept in the laboratory, when they make a final decision next month."

Ms Fitzsimons said that Napier councillors should be prepared for a backlash campaign run by pro-GE lobby group the LifeSciences Network, in the same way that Nelson councillors were targeted after their GE-Free decision.

"Nelson councillors were subjected to a barrage of letters, some of them suggesting that medicines such as GE insulin made in the laboratory could not be used in a GE-Free zone.

"This is completely untrue - GE insulin and other medicines could continue to be used and medical research in the laboratory could also continue - since those do not require the release of genetically engineered organisms.

"What would be stopped is the commercial or experimental release of plants, viruses or animals into the environment, because the risks of those releases are too great and can not even be properly assessed."

ENDS

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