We Can Make Our Own GM Decisions
25 October 2001
No Thanks Australia, We Can Make Our Own GM Decisions
Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First and MP for Tauranga, has labelled the efforts of Health Minister Annette King as weak and pathetic following the decision of ANZFA (Australia & New Zealand Food Authority) to delay the introduction of compulsory labelling of GM content in food sold in New Zealand.
“The Australians can do what they like just as we can”, said Mr Peters, “and to see our Minister being willingly led by the nose, by a committee comprised of an overwhelming majority of Australians, is just so sickening”.
“This is an issue of major importance to a very large percentage of New Zealand’s population, and food manufacturers and distributors have had more than ample warning of the need to label GM content of any food they seek to put on our shelves for sale”, Mr Peters claimed.
“There is no justification whatsoever for New Zealand to be dragged along with decisions made by Australians on matters as fundamental as the quality, safety or identification of the contents of any foods we in New Zealand elect to consume. Furthermore, our Minister of Health should only be bound by the requirements of our consumers here in New Zealand and not by the standards chosen by those in another country, irrespective of our close relationship or otherwise”, said Mr Peters.
“New Zealand will always be outnumbered by the wishes of Australians within agencies such as ANZFA, where we are a minority voice, and it is high time that New Zealand struck out on its own and forged its own direction and standards on such matters. Minister King had failed us badly over this matter as she is doing regularly, in respect to the provision of essential health services for New Zealand taxpayers. If we are to become increasingly reliant upon Australia to provide not only our medical services, but now also our food standards, let’s have that debate up front and not simply facilitate it by stealth as appears to be the case at present. If we are to be merely observers in such processes, and are to be dictated to by Ministers from the various states of Australia, why should we elect our own political leaders and what are we paying them for”? concluded Mr Peters.