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Don't believe Anderton about the Greens

Nick Smith National Environment Spokesperson

18 October 2001

Don't believe Anderton about the Greens

Jim Anderton can claim in Parliament that the Greens have signed up to support the Government, regardless of the upcoming decision on genetic modification, but the Greens actions as he was speaking demonstrated that this claim is simply not true, National's Environment spokesman Nick Smith said.

The Deputy Prime Minister made his claims in response to a question in Parliament from National's Deputy Leader Roger Sowry, but as he answered Green MPs were shaking their heads.

"Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons made her party's position crystal clear yesterday when she said 'Clearly our constituents could not tolerate confidence for a Government that took us down the GE road.'

"That is a clear threat to the Government. No one, not even Mr Anderton, could perceive her statement as a promise of support if the Government chooses to allow field trials of GE technology.

"The politicking around the decision makes a mockery of the Government's claims of pursuing a knowledge economy, as well as its rhetoric about making decisions based on public safety.

"The decision will clearly be political - pure and simple. Clark and Anderton's need for the Greens votes will override the recommendations of a Royal Commission.

"The irony of course is that the Green Party called for the Royal Commission and the Prime Minister called it 'thorough, balanced and measured'.

"National is prepared to offer the Government a way forward. We believe the issue of genetic modification is too important to be held hostage to petty politics. Bill English has written to the Prime Minister offering our support for legislation which would implement the Royal Commission's 'proceed with caution' approach. National is prepared to eliminate the need for the Government to rely on the Greens on this issue.

"The Government must leave politics behind and deal with the issue on its merits - just like the Royal Commission did," Dr Smith said.

Ends


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