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GE Moratorium - Winston Peters Speech Notes

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Parliamentary forecourt – 1.00pm
GE Moratorium

16 September 2003

Speech Notes

- New Zealand First votes helped establish the blanket moratorium to allow work suggested by the Royal Commission to be advanced.

- On page one of the codes of reference it talks of not ‘if’ the moratorium will be lifted but ‘when’. There was never any doubt in the Governments mind that it would be lifted.

- NZF entered into the moratorium believing that extensive scientific study would be done and that GE would be found to be completely safe before the moratorium could be lifted. No conclusive evidence has been found to show the absolute safety of GE organisms.

- New Zealand First has always taken the position that unless there was absolute proof that GE is safe then the moratorium should not be lifted. With the moratorium about to expire NZF does not believe that there is enough evidence to show that no harm will come to people if GE is used in foodstuffs; in some studies overseas the evidence is to the contrary. We must put the safety of New Zealanders first.

- NZF believes the Government has failed miserably in many other respects to use the two-year moratorium to put in place adequate risk management procedures.

- The Government has recognised that ERMA has not developed an adequate methodology to assess the impact of approvals to release GMO’s that may enter the human food chain. It has required further work to be done and to be reported back to cabinet on October 31, 2004, hardly confidence inspiring.

- Pressed in the House by NZF, the Minister agreed that the first applications for the release of any GMO’s that might enter the human food chain would almost certainly be put through the process of Ministerial call-in.

- All the evidence points to there being no applications for commercial release of GMO’s which could end up as food stuffs for probably 5-years – why risk our export markets which could be affected by perceptions of New Zealand releasing food-stuff GMO’s when it isn’t true. New Zealand is critically dependant on its exports of foodstuffs and the price we can obtain for such exports. Why risk all that area of food? Lets stick to development in medicines and pest control and other positive elements of this new technology.

- NZF has put in an SOP, which will extend the moratorium on commercial release of GE foodstuffs. If this does not succeed we will be putting forward a private member’s Bill to keep the moratorium back on.

- The fact that the Cabinet has demanded official’s devise a robust system of economic analysis shows that all is not right. If officials are not required to report back until 31 October 2004 then the Government’s timetable is putting the cart before the horse.

- New Zealand First has a policy to proceed with extreme caution and ERMA has not demonstrated that it has the wherewithal to assess macroeconomic risks of release of GE foodstuffs

- Helen Clark is now engaging in spurious and petty personality politics that she has accused others of doing.

- The fact is we have no idea where the science is going, we are more confused now of where we are going than we were before the moratorium.


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