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New GE petition at Parliament


New GE petition at Parliament

A new petition with at least 55,000 signatures, urging Parliament to prevent the release of GE into field and food, will be presented to Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons on Thursday at 2pm.

The petition will be presented on the steps of Parliament by Aucklander Susan Grimsdell, known for her 1997 petition against the proposed "Parliamentary Palace", a $94 million building that never went ahead.

The GE petition, called 'Keep NZ GE-free: GE Belongs in the Lab' reads as follows:

"We, the undersigned, request that Parliament ensure that genetic engineering research takes place only in contained laboratories, that genetically modified organisms are not released into the environment or food chain, and that the moratorium continues for at least five more years until 2008."

Ms Fitzsimons said global opposition to GE was growing all the time, with the latest news that Britain's biggest farmer, The Co-operative Group (also a supermarket chain, banker and dairy manufacturer), has banned GE ingredients across its businesses. It has banned growing GE crops on its own land, selling GE food under its own brand, and investing its bank customers' money in GE technology.

The Co-op said in a statement it was saying no to the commercial growing of GM crops in the UK on the strength of current scientific knowledge, and the overwhelming opposition of its members. Numerous other UK supermarket chains are already GE free to varying degrees. Tesco (the biggest), Sainsbury's and Iceland, among others, have banned GE ingredients from their own-label products.

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