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Govt's zero tolerance on GM not working

Govt's zero tolerance on GM not working

This latest biosecurity breach involving GM maize shows gross incompetence by the Government, says National's Environment spokesman, Dr Nick Smith.

Today the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries admitted finding low levels of genetically modified maize seed in imported seed from the USA after having cleared the seed in earlier tests and allowing 30 tonnes of the seed to be distributed to farmers.

Dr Smith says proper systems should have been put in place after the 2002 Corngate furore.

"However, this latest breach shows New Zealand still does not have the proper testing systems to ensure compliance with the zero tolerance law.

"It is time the Government fronted up and accepts that either zero tolerance is unachievable or it is time it put in place a robust testing regime that ensures any contamination is picked up before the seed is distributed.

"Only last week the Environment Minister, Marion Hobbs, was proudly proclaiming that no genetically modified plants had been commercially released. This finding, equating to 22,000 GM plants, makes a mockery of the Environment Minister.

"This new finding of GM contaminated maize adds to the likelihood that the controversial corn found in November 2001 was also contaminated, despite the Prime Minister's absolute assurances during the 2002 election campaign that it was not", says Dr Smith.

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