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CRIs Buy Into Pro-GE Election Lobbying

CRIs Buy Into Pro-GE Election Lobbying

25 July 2002

Crown Research Institutes should have better uses for taxpayer money than helping to pay for pro-GE ads, a spin hotline and pro-GE election kits for candidates, the Green Party said today.

Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said it was a completely inappropriate use of taxpayer funds by AgResearch and Crop and Food Research, who have contributed to a $180,000 election fighting fund run by the pro-GE lobby group Life Sciences Network.

"Many scientists, especially in sustainable sciences, are having real difficulty getting funding for their research. So how can these institutes justify spending money in an election fund to promote GE?"

Ms Fitzsimons said that the ad run in yesterday's papers contained unsupported claims that GE 'offers potentially massive advances for New Zealand agriculture.' Most objective analysists are struggling to find any benefits for agriculture from current GE products, she said.

"No-one can realistically argue that running such an ad in 21 papers, two days before an election, is a neutral contribution to the debate.

"Neither is funding the dial-a-spin hotline that Life Sciences have set up for political candidates who want to take their side of the argument.

"Choosing not to send the election kits to Green and Alliance candidates shows just how biased this whole campaign is."

Ms Fitzsimons said of course the Green Party wants to see New Zealand scientists contributing to the GE debate in a dignified and positive way.

"But some Crown Research Institutes are being sucked into funding Life Sciences agenda, which is part of a campaign by multinationals to gain acceptance for GE food and GE crops," she said.

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