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Monsanto can change its mind on GE, so can Labour

11 May 2004
If Monsanto can change its mind on GE, so can Labour

Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons is welcoming Monsanto's international cancellation of its genetically modified wheat and hopes New Zealand's Government is not going to be the last one to "get the message" on GE.

Reuters is reporting that US biotechnology giant Monsanto today shelved its plans to introduce 'Roundup-ready' wheat after consultation "with its customers in the wheat industry". The move comes as Food Standards Australia New Zealand and other regulatory bodies around the world are considering approval of GE wheat as a foodstuff.

"With Monsanto beginning to realise that there is no money to be made in GE food, its time Labour reconsidered its blind enthusiasm for this dead-end technology," said Ms Fitzsimons, the Green Party Spokesperson on Genetic Engineering.

"The cancellation of GE wheat is the result of an extraordinary worldwide effort. A relatively unlikely coalition of growers, industry groups, consumers, environmentalists and the market has managed to stop the release of a key GE crop.

"I would like to think that the Greens' encouraging New Zealanders to make submissions to FSANZ played a role. Kiwis' clear opposition to approval here of GE wheat as a foodstuff will have contributed to sending Monsanto the message that ordinary people around the world do not want our staple foods mucked around with.

"The fact is, growers told Monsanto 'we won't grow it unless you can guarantee a market' and consumers said 'no way'. So in the end, what the regulatory authority decided wasn't the point.

"One by one, the doors are closing for GE crops globally as evidence mounts that they fail to deliver on promised benefits and have never been shown to be safe.

"With Ian Ewen-Street's member's bill to restore the moratorium on GE release drawn from the ballot last week, the Government has the opportunity to heed the Monsanto decision and change its stance on GE in a politically positive manner," said Ms Fitzsimons.


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