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Why is NZ backing the terminator?

Why is NZ backing the terminator?

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters needs to explain why his officials are backing "the terminator" - one of the most risky applications of genetic engineering, Green Party Environment Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos says.

"This gene - which sterilizes plants - makes it impossible for farmers and home gardeners around the world to sow the seeds they grow. It's an attempt by huge firms like Monsanto to gain control of our food by replacing present-day crops with GE equivalents and this could have huge impacts on poor people in developing countries who depend on their seeds to live.

"His apparent unfamiliarity with the terminator issue in the House today is no reason for inaction. I appeal to his recently expressed concern for development and global security and ask him to make himself aware of the issues," Nandor says.

At a preliminary meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity in
Spain in January this year, New Zealand supported Australia in arguing terminator technology should be able to be used on a case-by-case basis.
A follow-up meeting is due on March 13.

"Mr Peters should spell out whether his priority is to continue the
Government's attempts to cosy up to big American firms like Monsanto in the forlorn hope of a free trade deal, or to follow his own party's policy, which is to 'proceed with extreme caution' on GE," Mr Tanczos says.

"On August 5, 1999 Mr Peters issued a hard-hitting statement accusing then Health Minister Wyatt Creech of 'selling out' to food chains over
GE and irradiated food, especially in regard to the lack of food
labelling. The question is, does he still feel as strong about GE technology?"

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