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Labour Maori Caucus on GM

30 October 2001

Media Statement

Labour Maori Caucus on GM: how far is New Zealand willing to go

Genetic modification strikes at the core values of Maori and we are committed to ensuring those values are able to be upheld, says Labour's Maori Caucus.

We, along with our other caucus colleagues are dedicated to maintaining a safe New Zealand for all citizens.

"We have particular concerns about ensuring that nature is not manipulated. The release of genetically modified organisms into the environment is not acceptable.

"We are not opposed to science. We are concerned about the dangers of compromising the social, cultural and environmental integrity of our country for short-term commercial gain.

"We want to protect peoples health by ensuring the protection of New Zealand's flora and fauna, our food sources of today and our food sources of tomorrow.

"In the same way as we protect our borders at every entry point into the country, we must protect our environment, and must get the information we need to fully appreciate the risks.

"We support the decision to proceed with a 2 year ban on any commercial release of genetically modified organisms immediately.

"The transfer of genes between unrelated plant, animal and human species is in our view, a threat to human existence as we currently know it. A whakapapa recognises the various mauri or lifeforms and the contribution they provide for each other. To interfere with a life-form is disrespectful and is another form of cultural arrogance.

"For us our cultural integrity is paramount. We discussed these issues fully within the Labour caucus and while we agree that different cultures have different views on this issue, we cannot compromise these values.

"Maori Caucus has pushed for a stronger Treaty provision in the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 as was recommended Royal Commission. It has been agreed that appropriate amendments will be made to the Act to reflect this and we are working with our caucus colleagues on that," Maori Caucus said.

ENDS

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