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Govt ready to sacrifice organics and green brand

Govt ready to sacrifice organics and clean green brand

15 November 2001

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today said the Government's response to the Royal Commission recommendations shows they have decided to ditch our clean green brand.

Ms Fitzsimons said it was obvious from the detail in the recommendations released yesterday that the Government was keen on embracing genetic engineering, and was prepared to sacrifice the country's clean green reputation to do that.

"The Royal Commission perfected the art of sitting on the fence and produced the Great New Zealand Compromise with their recommendation to proceed with caution.

"The Government's response shows they intend to proceed all right, but they are throwing caution to the winds," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said the first group to be sacrificed on the GE altar would be the organics industry.

"The Government's recommendations make it clear that 'co-existence' of genetically engineered and organic crops will rely on organic producers changing their standards and accepting some contamination of crops.

"Organics is by definition free of any genetically engineered material. Under the Government's recommendations this would have to change, which would downgrade our organic exports on the international market."

Ms Fitzsimons said she was angry and upset that the Government would also continue to allow genetic engineering of sheep and cows to produce human proteins in their milk.

"The Government has ignored the Royal Commission recommendation that non-food animals should be used to protect the reputation and marketing of our food exports.

"Putting human genes in cows and sheep to produce GE milk is unethical, offensive to Maori and many others, and could potentially do huge damage to our overseas markets who buy milk and meat from us."

Ms Fitzsimons said the Government had rejected the core recommendations from the Commission intended to protect the environment from the risks of GE releases, including the need to learn more about horizontal gene transfer and the effects on soil before releasing GE crops.

ENDS

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