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


GE floodgates must be controlled

7 February 2006

GE floodgates must be controlled

The Green Party is calling on the Government to investigate options for retaining New Zealand control over decisions around genetic engineering, now that the WTO has effectively opened the floodgates.

The WTO issued a preliminary ruling yesterday which declared a 1998 - 2003 moratorium in Europe banning the import of GE foods was contrary to WTO rules. This effectively overrides the right of governments to protect their consumers and farmers from potential harm from GE foods and crops.

"While Food Safety Australia New Zealand has so far approved every application to import GE food products, this ruling raises the question of what would happen if they turned one down," Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says. "Would that be ruled illegal under the WTO?

"We are likely to face similar legal action if ERMA ever refuses an application to grow GE crops unless there is proven to be harmful results. So far there have been no such applications but eventually someone will try. Will we just roll over when our legal system is challenged?

"Denmark has been forced to protect its interests by instituting a liability tax on people who grow GE crops. This is one example New Zealand could follow if we need to," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"This is a way for nations to maintain the right to set their own food safety and environmental protection laws in the face of the ruling by the WTO, which says that countries can not ban GE foods unless there is scientific proof they are harmful."

In Denmark the tax will be used to compensate non-GE farmers if they suffer economic damage as a result of contamination of their crops by GE.

The New Zealand Government has said that farmers here would have to seek compensation individually through the courts if they suffer economic damage because their crops are contaminated by GE. - "This is a completely inappropriate approach which puts all the cost on the victim.

"The ruling might also be used to challenge the rights of local communities to determine what happens in their own environment as set out by the Resource Management Act. Will local democracy be overridden too?

"To blindly abide by the WTO's ruling is tantamount to having unprotected sex and keeping your fingers crossed that all will be ok," she says.

New Zealand must act now to protect our right to democratic decision-making and to prevent the damage to our agricultural sector's international reputation that contamination with GE will cause.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>


Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. 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