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Public newspapers politicians agree: ban must stay

Public, newspapers and politicians agree: the ban must stay

The tide of support for extending the moratorium on the release of genetically engineered organisms has turned into a tidal wave that the Government can no longer ignore, Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

"The weekend has seen the country's biggest newspaper, the Sunday Star-Times, and the New Zealand First Party come round to our position," said Ms Fitzsimons. "Both are to be congratulated for weighing the arguments carefully and coming to the same conclusion as at least 68 per cent of the population: it is not safe to lift the moratorium next month.

"The research recommended by the Royal Commission into the safety of GE is years away from completion, while huge concerns exist over ERMA's ability to oversee the application process and police the release of GE, come October 29.

"The Sunday Star-Times has weighed those facts and has now joined the New Zealand Herald in taking an editorial line in support of extending the moratorium. It points out: 'if we charge ahead, we could charge into catastrophe.'

"New Zealand First is also to be congratulated for taking a considered approach to the risks facing New Zealand through the too-hasty release of GE. It is significant that NZ First MP, Brian Donnelly was chair of the select committee that heard submissions on the New Organisms and Other Matters (NOOM) Bill.

"While we don't believe that the two-year extension NZ First is seeking through an amendment to the NOOM Bill is long enough, we would still be prepared to support it if our own amendment, seeking a five-year extension, fails.

"Likewise, we would hope NZ First would support our amendment, rather than accept the lifting of the moratorium on October 29.

"The weekend's developments reflect the growing sense of urgency and outrage in the community that the Government really does intend lifting the moratorium," Ms Fitzsimons said. "It is a tidal wave that the Government ignores at its peril. As The Sunday Star-Times asks: 'What, after all, is the hurry?'"

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