Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Green bill would keep GE at bay

1 March 2005

Green bill would keep GE at bay until the 'fork in the road'

Green MP Ian Ewen-Street says Parliament should heed new information, including a key recent Government report, when considering his GE Moratorium Reinstatement Bill at its first reading tomorrow.

The Ministry of Research, Science and Technology report 'Futurewatch: Biotechnologies to 2025', published in January, predicts a critical "fork in the road" sometime between 2008 and 2013, where consumer demand will force markets to choose between GE or "smart breeding" when developing new crop varieties.

"The economic opportunities for New Zealand lie in responding to market pressures, so we would do well to have a Moratorium on GE until MoRST's "fork in the road" has been passed, and my bill's five-year reinstatement does just that," said Mr Ewen-Street, the Green Party's Agriculture Spokesperson.

"In my view, the fork in the road is between GE and conventional agriculture, within which marker-assisted selection technology or smart breeding may or may not have a role. The huge and on-going consumer resistance to GE will lead the world to choose the path of naturally produced food and fibre, so we are best to maintain the '100% Pure' market advantage our farmers already enjoy.

"Why this critical 'fork in the road' is coming is clear to see. The Human Genome Project has thrown open a whole range of uncertainties that even the most ardent of supporters of GE acknowledge will take decades of research to address. Co-existence of GE and conventional crops hasn't worked, with the latter becoming contaminated even when buffer zones have been used. And there have been revelations about the inadequacy of the US crop and food approval process that other countries such as New Zealand have relied on.

"Parliament should also consider that a number of the recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Genetic Modification have not been implemented, for example, research on horizontal gene transfer. Furthermore the biosecurity implications of introducing alien GE species to our unique ecosystems have not been properly addressed.

"Popular resistance has ensured that there has been no release of GE organisms into our environment, despite the Government placing so much political emphasis on ending the previous moratorium. However in the absence of a regulatory safeguard such as a moratorium, our continued GE-Free status is a matter of good fortune rather good policy.

"Overall, the Government would do well to take a deep breath and start acting in a precautionary manner On GE, about which there is still so much scientific uncertainty and ethical division."

Mr Ewen-Street's Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Genetically Modified Organisms Moratorium Reinstatement) Amendment Bill 2003 is due to be debated tomorrow night, Wednesday 2 March. MoRST's report is available at, the reference to the "fork in the road" is on page 17 of the PDF (page 12 in the paper).


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Decision Day: Peters Chooses Labour

Winston Peters says he will form a Government in coalition with Labour and the Greens giving confidence and supply.

Peters said he had been offered the position of Deputy Prime Minister and a number of other ministerial posts would go to his colleagues

He said economic and monetary policy changes were needed to face a coming economic downturn.>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election