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


Govt should have as-of-right access to GE tests

27 July 2005

Govt should have as-of-right access to GE test results

The Green Party is extremely frustrated that several days after the Government was advised of a positive test for GE contamination it is not known what exactly it showed, Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

MAF have this afternoon announced that an investigation is under way into a GE-positive test result of maize held in the upper North Island.

"Food producers, growers and the public are left in limbo, feeling alarmed and helpless at the lack of any useful information," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"Before we can determine whether this is a false alarm, a tiny level of trace contamination or a major scare we have to see this initial test result, but the Government does not have access, as of right, to the lab results and has to get the consent of the corn processor who ordered the test.

"The Select Committee inquiry into Corngate recommended unanimously that government regulators should have as-of-right access to all testing results directly from the lab, but the Government rejected this recommendation.

"All corn and maize seed coming into the country is now tested at one of three certified and audited overseas laboratories. That raises the question of whether this batch got through because of faulty lab procedures, as happened in 2004 when Biogenetic Services was decertified, or whether the level of contamination is below the margin of error in the test, which cannot be avoided. There is also the possibility that seed from a previous contamination incident has re-grown and contaminated a whole batch.

"MAF has done the right thing in ordering a dozen or so further tests, securing the storage of the batch in question and beginning a trace-back to find where the seed was grown. However results from those tests will take at least two weeks to arrive.

"This incident, the sixth in the last three years since New Zealand started checking properly, underlines the arrogance of the multi-national seed companies who assume they don't need to take precautions against seed contamination and that we will just have to live with it.

"It also underlines the Greens' call for a proper liability regime where the losses for growers, merchants, processors, end users and the Government would be paid for by the company that owns the GE patent who profits from the distress of those who want their food to be GE-Free."

If this positive test result is genuine, the risks to New Zealand farming include: the contaminated crop may have cross pollinated other fields; seed from the contaminated crop may be left behind in the field or have dropped from trucks or harvesters; other seed dried at the same time may have been contaminated too.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Charlotte Graham: Empowering Communities To Act In A Disaster

The year of record-breaking natural disasters means that in the US, as in New Zealand, there’s a conversation happening about how best to run the emergency management sector and what philosophies best engage and protect communities in the event of a crisis.

How much of the responsibility for a community’s safety in a natural disaster is the Government’s, and how much can be left up to the community themselves? And how do we ensure none of our most vulnerable residents are left behind? More>>


CPAG Report: The Further Fraying Of The Welfare Safety Net

New Zealand’s welfare system has undergone a major transformation during the past three decades. This process has seriously thwarted the original intent of the system, which was to provide a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders in times of need... More>>


Signage, Rumble Strips, Barriers: Boost For State Highway Road Safety

Boost for road safety this summer Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter today announced a short term boost in road safety funding this summer and signalled a renewed focus from the Government on introducing safer speed limits. More>>


Risks & Adaptation: Cheaper To Cut Emissions Than Deal With Climate Change

The cost of climate change to New Zealand is still unknown, but a group of experts tasked with plugging the country's information gaps says it will likely be significant and it would be cheaper to cut greenhouse emissions than simply adapting to those changes. More>>


BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>





Featured InfoPages