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"Corngate" inquiry blocked from testing seeds

Nick Smith National Environment Spokesperson

27 March 2003

"Corngate" inquiry blocked from testing seeds

Labour MPs have used their majority on the Environment Select Committee against all other parties to prevent further testing of the corn at the centre of the "Corngate" affair.

"It's incredulous that Government MPs would block such testing when the central issue of the inquiry is whether or not the corn was contaminated," says National's Environment spokesman, Nick Smith.

"This action sabotages the whole inquiry and its capacity to find the truth. The public will be left asking what the Government is trying to hide."

The "Corngate" controversy erupted in the election campaign over allegations in the book "Seeds of Distrust" that the Government had deliberately covered up an incident involving the importation and planting of contaminated corn.

The issue has centred on the interpretation of GM testing results which showed both positive and negative results.

"Prime Minister Helen Clark gave an absolute assurance that the corn was not contaminated, despite official papers at the time stating there was uncertainty over the test results," says Dr Smith.

"Science Minister, Pete Hodgson told the nation prior to the election that the Government had done additional testing, but it was later revealed that no such additional tests exist.

"Labour is following one cover-up with another. It is clearly in the public interest that every step possible is taken to determine whether or not the corn was contaminated. Labour's action is putting at risk fundamental democratic values of trust and honesty of Government," says Dr Smith.


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