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GE-Free future essential for organics strategy

18 December 2001

Green Party Agriculture spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today a new strategic plan for the organics industry would have to specify a ban on commercial releases of genetically engineered crops.

Mr Ewen-Street welcomed today's announcement of $80,000 of funding for a strategic plan.

But he said that if genetically engineered crops were released in New Zealand from 2003, it would be a time-bomb for the organics industry.

"By definition and by certification, organic crops must be free of any level of contamination from genetically engineered crops.

"Experience overseas shows that contamination is inevitable. If we release genetically engineered crops here from 2003, it will inevitably destroy the export markets for our organics industry."

Mr Ewen-Street said he particularly welcomed the opportunity to develop a strategic plan which included a role for organic advisors to help new organic farmers through the transition years.

"As one of the Green initiatives for the last budget, $250,000 was put towards developing a national minimum standard to protect the industry's credibility overseas.

"The Government has to admit that its policy to allow commercial release of genetically engineered crops to go ahead from 2003 is the biggest threat the organics industry has ever faced."

ENDS


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