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Charges Must Be Laid Against GM Activists

ACT Environment Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today police must now lay charges against activists who publicly incited people to destroy genetically modified crops after the Government last year gave its support for field trials.

"In November I laid a complaint with police against several people quoted in the media at that time as representing activist groups, who said they intended to rip up GM plants and were inciting others to do the same. To my knowledge, no charges have been laid, although I was told when I laid the complaint that these people had already technically breached the law.

"At the time I said, and I still believe, that legal action against those publicly advocating criminal activity over GM would show the people of New Zealand that the law is the law and there can be no justification for breaking it - whatever spin an individual might want to put on their actions.

"I think the wanton destruction of scientific research at Lincoln demonstrates how serious eco-terrorists are about stopping GM and it is time these people were given a clear message. This sort of barbaric behaviour against those lawfully carrying out their business can't be tolerated. It is not anti-GM, it is anti-science.

"I wrote to the Green Party in November asking them to publicly oppose all threats made against legitimate science, but never received a response. I urge the Greens now to publicly deplore the Lincoln attack - otherwise they could be seen as tacitly approving it.

"Also last November, I wrote to Helen Clark suggesting that stronger legal remedies were needed against eco-terrorism, she responded by saying she believed that existing arrangements and security measures were adequate.

"Clearly they are not. We need an immediate boost to security at facilities such as Lincoln. In addition the laws covering this type of activity must be strengthened. Charges such as trespass and wilful damage are inadequate in the face of wanton destruction which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and puts back scientific development by years," Gerry Eckhoff said.


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