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Aussies quiz Kedgley over GE labelling bill

Political first as Aussies quiz Kedgley over GE labelling bill

Trans-Tasman political history will be made this evening [7:30pm Thursday, video link-up in conference room GOO3] when Green MP Sue Kedgley becomes the first New Zealand Member of Parliament to give evidence before an Australian Senate Inquiry.

Ms Kedgley will be giving evidence in support of Australian Green Senator Bob Brown's Truth in Food Labelling Bill, which calls for mandatory labelling of all GE ingredients in the food supply

Senator Brown's bill is based on an almost identical private member’s bill that Ms Kedgley has drawn up for the New Zealand parliament.

"This is a wonderful example of Trans-Tasman co-operation,” said Ms Kedgley, the Green Party’s Food Safety spokesperson. “It also shows the advantage of having Green MPs in both Parliaments.”

Ms Kedgley said it was ironic that the body that would implement Senator Brown's bill, Food Safety Australia New Zealand, also has jurisdiction over New Zealand food labelling.

"Because the New Zealand government has given up our sovereignty over vital issues such as the labelling of GE food, interested MPs such as myself have no choice but to make submissions to the Australian parliament,” said Ms Kedgley.

"Senator Brown's bill is important because the present GE labelling regime governing Australia and New Zealand is so full of loopholes that consumers simply don’t know whether the food they’re eating comes from GE ingredients or not.”

Ms Kedgley said Health Minister Annette King had justified our weak GE labelling regime at the time by arguing that we wanted to align our labelling rules with Europe.

"Now that Europe has introduced a strict, comprehensive GE labelling regime which covers all food, and all GE ingredients and animal feed, we need to adopt a similar approach,” said Ms Kedgley. “A key provision of my bill, Senator Brown’s bill and the new EU regulations is the introduction of a robust system for tracing all GE ingredients in the food chain.

“Consumers have a fundamental right to know what is in the food they eat and how it has been produced.”

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