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Govt shafts Greens over GE committee

Govt shafts Greens over GE committee

The Green Party is angry the Government has so blatantly and deviously referred the Bill governing GE release to a select committee with no Green MPs, Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

"The Government is so embarrassed about the lack of any sound case for releasing genetic engineering into the environment that they can't bear to face up to a Green on the committee," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"They don't want anyone putting up the scientific case for the alternative view."

The New Organisms and Other Matters Bill establishes a regulatory regime for GE release once the October moratorium expires. It was last night referred to Parliament's education and science committee for closer scrutiny.

"This deceitfully closes the door on expertise from the Greens, on a Bill that - let's face it - will have major impacts on our environment and our claims as a nation to being 'clean and green'," Ms Fitzsimons said.

In her speech to the House last night, Ms Fitzsimons pointed out key deficiencies in the Bill. These include the Government's claim that the Bill implements the Royal Commission report, when in fact it ignores numerous important recommendations.

"The reality is that no business case has been made for GE. The Government hasn't solved the co-existence problem, that is, the fact that GE and non-GE crops can only coexist if contamination is accepted. And the liability arrangements for when GE goes wrong are entirely inadequate," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"The Bill also allows for 'conditional release', which is a sneaky way of approving release into the environment of GE organisms that can't meet the stricter standards for general release. The Government has admitted that the conditions imposed on 'conditional releases' will sometimes fail, and there won't be any liability for that failure," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"This Bill represents another takeover of New Zealand by a few corporates and individuals who want to get very rich at public expense. In the future, we will look back on this Bill as treason, and the Government will be held to account."


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