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GE petition and hikoi converge on Parliament

GE petition and hikoi converge on Parliament

Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today she was heartened by continued expressions of opposition to GE release being brought right into the heart of Parliament.

Today, Ms Fitzsimons accepted a new petition with at least 55,000 signatures, urging Parliament to extend the GE moratorium. She also joined a silent vigil with members of the seed carriers hikoi, who arrived at Parliament this morning after travelling together from all over the North Island including the Far North, gathering seeds on the way.

The hikoi met with Environment Minister Marian Hobbs this morning, and urged the Government to extend the moratorium. Hikoi members are handing over to the Government the responsibility for ensuring the future integrity of our seed varieties and for ensuring no more seed varieties are lost, in light of the Government's decision to allow GE organisms into the environment.

"Members of the seed carriers hikoi, including gardeners and conservationists, have done a wonderful job as guardians of our heritage vegetable and flower seed varieties. It will be a tragedy if our precious biodiversity is destroyed by GE contamination," Ms Fitzsimons said.

The groundswell of public opinion against GE was continuing to grow, she said.

"I salute the efforts of these groups and individuals who are making it very clear to the Government that they will not accept the release of GE into our environment."

Aucklander Susan Grimsdell presented the GE petition to Ms Fitzsimons on the steps of Parliament today at 2pm. Ms Grimsdell is 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 the Government had to add the petition to the 70 per cent of New Zealanders which polls show don't want GE in the environment, to the 50,000+ people who marched against GE two weeks ago, to the more than 250,000 who sent postcards to ministers, and the 11,000 who sent submissions to the Royal Commission - all saying "keep GE in the lab".

ENDS

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