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Greens' Criticism Of NZ Initiative "Astounds

17 April 2002

Greens' Criticism Of NZ Initiative "Astounds" Conservation Minister

Conservation Minister Sandra Lee, commenting from an international conservation conference at The Hague, said she was "astounded" at Green MP Ian Ewen-Street's attack on New Zealand's launch of an Island Alien Species Initiative.

"This has been developed with the support of island nations to help them combat pest species threatening their ecosystems or local species, and it is an international cooperative initiative," Ms Lee said.

"New Zealand has taken a leading role because of the expertise that we have developed in this area over many years of species eradication work," she said.

"It would be foolish to stop work to eradicate pests and save birds and other
species in the Pacific, some of which were introduced by New Zealand
governments decades ago.

"It was acknowledged yesterday by several of the 182 participating countries at the conference I am attending that the assistance and expertise provided by New
Zealand over the years has been of great benefit to many Island nations
throughout the world.

"Mr Ewen-Street's suggestion that somehow New Zealand will be allowing the random spread of Genetically Modified Organisms is ludicrous.

"I am attending the Sixth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity at The Hague in the Netherlands this week to work on a range of important and global issues", she said.

"These include protecting the worlds forests, biodiversity, ensuring the developing countries receive adequate funding for biodiversity work, and promoting the increased involvement of indigenous peoples, local communities and women in national biodiversity programmes."

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