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Blair Government backtracks on GE

4 June 2002

Blair Government backtracks on GE

Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today said Prime Minister Helen Clark should look at what is happening in the UK where her Labour counterpart Tony Blair is backtracking on his previous support for GE.

Just days after Tony Blair described opponents of genetic engineering as using 'emotion to drive out reason' his Government has backtracked on its strong support for gene technology and announced plans for a national debate on genetic engineering.

The UK Observer reports that this concession could halt plans for the commercial growing of GE crops in Britain. See... http://www.observer.co.uk/science/story/0,1596,726539,00.html

"The Government should take a hard look at what is happening in the rest of the world - particularly the UK Labour Party. Research on the impacts of release of genetically engineered crops is now starting to come in and the results are showing that there is next to nothing to gain and everything to lose from release.

"This is why the Greens are taking a strong stand against Labour's plans to lift the moratorium next year and are campaigning hard for New Zealand's environment to stay GE-Free," said Ms Fitzsimons.

Last week a European Union report found that organic farming will be forced out of production in Britain and across Europe if genetically engineered crops were grown commercially.

"Across the world even the strongest supporters of gene technology are fast waking up to the risks of releasing genetically engineered crops and organisms into the environment. Consumers and markets are rejecting GE food, farmers are rejecting GE crops and the world is turning towards safe, natural food.

"The research is showing what the Greens have been saying for years - our economic advantage lies with keeping GE in the lab and keeping our environment GE-Free," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"If Tony Blair can think again, so can Helen Clark.

"The evidence is mounting that to lift the moratorium next year would be a big mistake that New Zealand could regret for a very long time."

ENDS

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