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Government Condones GE Cover Up

8 July 2002

National's Crown Research Institutes spokesman, Paul Hutchison, says he's astonished the Government is condoning a cover-up over GE tamarillo field trials in Northland.

Late last year, Dr Hutchison wrote to CRI Minister, Pete Hodgson, and Environment Minister, Marian Hobbs, urging that a science-based study be carried out on the tamarillo-testing area to find out if it had been adversely affected by the GE trials.

"I urged Ms Hobbs to seek answers before considering having the area sprayed with the poison, chloropicrin. Neither Minister was prepared to fund a study and HortResearch didn't have the resources to carry it out.

"It's appalling that Pete Hodgson - who is also Minister of Science - might, on the one hand, advocate a scientific approach to horizontal gene transfer, but in this instance has condoned a secret deal to cover up the truth and silence both parties.

"The Environment Minister has now lamely come out and said she'll carry out a fresh inquiry into the trial. But at the time, she said ERMA believed it was unnecessary.

"It's ironic given the need for scientific evidence in the GE debate that the Ministers and the GE groups involved have chosen to shake hands on a deal to hush the matter up, rather than search for the truth," says Dr Hutchison.


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