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Farmer feedback shows GE moratorium should stay

Farmer feedback shows GE moratorium should stay

New research showing that even our farmers don't want GE confirms that the Government should not lift the GE moratorium in October, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

A Lincoln University study has found that 50 per cent of New Zealand farmers want the GE release moratorium extended beyond October, and only 36 per cent want it lifted.

"Resistance to GE in field and food is clearly growing among our farmers, and they are supposed to be among the main beneficiaries of GE," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"Just whose interests is this Government serving in lifting the moratorium, when 80 per cent of our farmers don't even plan to grow GE and half our farmers want the moratorium to remain?

"Clearly the Government is again favouring multinational biotechnology companies over the interests of New Zealand farmers who earn most of our foreign exchange earnings."

The study showed that only 20 per cent of farmers said they intended using GE crops and animals; with an overwhelming 80 per cent saying they would keep using conventional or organic farming methods.

Ms Fitzsimons said the Government should follow the lead of Australian state governments, which have been more cautious on GE and more protective of farmers' interests.

New South Wales this month announced a three-year moratorium on GE canola (the only food crop approved for commercial release in Australia); joining other states with moratoriums of varying length on GE canola. The combined effects of these state moratoriums mean effectively that there will be no new GE releases in the whole of Australia for quite some time.

"New Zealand should adopt a similarly cautious approach," Ms Fitzsimons said.

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