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Biosecurity Advice A Joke Given GE Policy

17 April 2002

Green Party Biosecurity Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today the Government should look to its own backyard before telling other island nations how to improve their biosecurity.

"It's a bit rich to talk about protecting island nations with the World Conservation Union, when you're planning to open the gate for new genetically engineered plants and animals next year."

The Conservation Minister today announced that a group is to be set up in Auckland to help island nations get rid of alien species and compile information on biodiversity threats to island nations.

"I am amazed that Sandra Lee cannot see the incongruity, given her Government's policy on releasing genetically engineered species. Alien genetically engineered species have just as much potential to become pests as species introduced from other countries," he said.

"Ms Lee herself recognised that invasive pests and weeks had become the greatest environmental threat facing New Zealand's biodiversity on land.

"My question to her, is why then is her Government backing the release of new genetically engineered species, when they have just as much potential to become invasive organisms as possums, rabbits and gorse."

Mr Ewen-Street said the Government should change the HSNO Bill to stop the moratorium being automatically lifted in October 2003.

Ends

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