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Government to consult on Biosafety Protocol

2 June 2004

Government to consult on Biosafety Protocol

The government will consult publicly on whether New Zealand should ratify the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, Foreign Minister Phil Goff and Environment Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

The Cartagena Protocol is a protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and regulates the import and export of certain types of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) known as living modified organisms. New Zealand is a signatory to the Protocol but has not ratified it.

"The Protocol aims to protect biodiversity by enabling countries to make well-informed decisions when considering whether or not to allow living modified organisms to be imported," the ministers said.

"New Zealand already has in place legislation covering the importation of organisms that come within the Protocol. However, further legislation would be required if New Zealand wished to export such organisms in the future.

"The government wants to hear the views of all interested parties on whether or not New Zealand should ratify the Protocol. The consultation will be taken into consideration in analysing the potential implications for New Zealand of ratifying the Protocol."

The Cartagena Protocol came into force on September 11 2003 and had its first formal meeting of parties in February 2004. New Zealand attended this first meeting as an observer.

The consultation period will run for six weeks from 4 June to 16 July. People interested in making submissions are invited to consider the discussion document, which can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website, www.mfat.govt.nz

ENDS

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