Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Jim Sutton backs Labour's GE stance

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton has accused the Green Party and their new-found band of friends in the self-styled Sustainability Council of New Zealand as scaremongering and deliberately ignoring the carefully considered findings of the Royal Commission .

The Royal Commission was set up with the support of all political parties, he said.

"After an exhaustive enquiry, taking more than a year, the Royal Commission said we can proceed safely to utilise appropriate GM technology with caution, using proper assessment procedures.

"The Labour Party have a moratorium to give us time to make sure these risk protection procedures are in place. The law requires that if any particular release poses significant risks, either to health or environment, or if there is insufficient information to assess these risks, it will not be allowed, no matter how great the benefits.

"As for the sudden concern of the previously anti-trade Greens, that any commercial use of GM crops or animal products could damage market access for New Zealand products, this is clearly another case of unsupported scaremongering.

"Every major market for New Zealand food products, including Germany which has a Green Party minister of food safety and agriculture, produces and consumes GM crops themselves.

"In fact, were New Zealand to adopt a "GE-Free" policy without scientific justification, we would lose our reputation as a trading partner who sticks to the rules and bases our regulations on honest science. We rely on that reputation to keep our vital export markets open."

Mr Sutton said genetic modification was a relatively new technology, and New Zealand was one of the last countries in the world to apply it in agriculture.

He said he could understand some people being nervous about new things, but the Royal Commission had been set up to independently evaluate the basis of those concerns. It heard thousands of witnesses, rejected extreme or unjustified positions from both sides, and debunked numerous "urban myths".

"The Royal Commission represents New Zealand's most independent and thorough way of exploring any matter of public controversy and it is frankly neither constructive nor particularly responsible to launch a political attack on its findings in the final stage of a general election campaign.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Corrections Corrected: Supreme Court Rules On Release Dates

Corrections has always followed the lawful rulings of the Court in its calculation of sentence release dates. On four previous occasions, the Court of Appeal had upheld Corrections’ practices in calculating pre-sentence detention. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news