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GE Bottom Line For Support Of Next Govt - Greens

22 May 2002


The Green Party caucus will recommend to the Green Party conference next week that the release of genetically engineered organisms into New Zealand's environment will be a bottom line for its support of another Labour-led Government.

"The public of New Zealand must understand that the new moratorium preventing commercial release expires next year. A majority Labour Government will mean that New Zealand's GE-Free status will be lost forever," said Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.

"The Green caucus believes that any coalition agreement with Labour must include an agreement to stop the moratorium being lifted in October 2003. That doesn't mean we don't want to be a coalition partner, just that we are setting a bottom line for that relationship.

"At our party conference next week, I will be asking our members to back the caucus on this decision."

Ms Fitzsimons said if a successful coalition agreement could not be achieved, the Greens could still support Labour forming a Government because the moratorium will be in place.

"However any confidence and supply agreement would be void on the day that the moratorium was lifted.

"If voters want widespread release of genetically engineered crops, animals or viruses next year, then they are welcome to elect a majority Labour Government. If they want to stop that, they will have to make sure that the Green Party is there in sufficient strength to hold them back," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons and the Green MPs left the House without voting after her speech during the third reading of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Genetically Modified Organisms) Amendment Bill. The Bill puts in place the moratorium, and also an automatic expiry date.

"The Green Party could not in all conscience vote for a Bill which sets an expiry date of October 2003 for the moratorium on commercial release of genetically engineered organisms. However, we will not vote against it because even a brief delay in the farming of GE crops and animals here is a step forward."

Ms Fitzsimons said today's announcement does not affect the Green Party giving supply and confidence to the Government during this election term, as the moratorium is in place until after the election.

Ends


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