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


Opening the door to a GE future

Opening the door to a GE future

Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today said the proposals put forward in a Government discussion paper on the HSNO Act would make it easier to release genetically engineered organisms and could weaken public participation in the approval process.

Ms Fitzsimons said in particular the proposed new category of 'conditional release' of genetically engineered organisms was the thin end of a wedge that would hold open the door to a GE future.

"None of the reasons given in this paper for 'conditional release' stand up to scrutiny," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"The main reason for such a category is to allow those companies promoting new genetically engineered crops and animals to trial them in the open environment, instead of in containment, while creating the false impression that the trials are strictly controlled."

Ms Fitzsimons said 'conditional release' was originally proposed by the Royal Commission into Genetic Modification in order to allow the use of 'buffer zones' between GE and non-GE crops as part of their strategy of 'co-existence'.

"Since the Royal Commission report there has been a stack of international evidence showing that buffer zones do not work and that once genetically engineered crops are planted into the environment, contamination and cross pollination are inevitable.

"The public need to know that the so-called 'conditional release' of genetically engineered crops is in fact a massive step towards New Zealand becoming a GE nation. Most New Zealanders, farmers included, do not want GE crops and animals grown here and this paper shows Government is simply not listening," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said she was also worried by the discussion in the paper on how to protect commercial confidentiality and intellectual property.

"The information that companies would want to protect from competitors is likely to be the same information - such as the nature of transgenic material - that is required under the HSNO Act to accurately assess risk. If submitters do not have that information there can be no scientific debate about risk at the hearing.

"This paper also makes it clear that Government has no intention of legislating to require the owners of GE organisms to be held liable for any damage they cause, such as contamination and ruin of organic crops. This paper instead proposes that the risks be shared by the victims and possibly the taxpayer," she said.

© 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