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Minister corrects misrepresentations on Protocol

Hon David Benson-Pope, MP
Minister for the Environment
Member of Parliament for Dunedin South

16 March 2006 Media Statement
Minister corrects misrepresentations on Protocol


Environment Minister David Benson-Pope is today correcting misrepresentations of New Zealand’s position on the Cartagena Protocol.

“Despite claims to the contrary, New Zealand ratified the Cartagena Protocol on 24 February 2005 and it came into force in May 2005,” said David Benson-Pope.

“Also, New Zealand supports strong documentation to accompany any trans-boundary movements of living modified organisms (LMOs) so that all countries, including New Zealand, are fully informed when making decisions about whether or not to allow such imports.”

New Zealand fully agrees that where any agricultural commodity for food, feed or processing contains LMOs, or where there is good reason to believe that it may contain LMOs, it should be documented or “labelled” accordingly.

However, David Benson-Pope said that New Zealand considers the issue of adventitious presence of LMOs should not be dealt with under Article 18.2(a) of the Protocol. Article 18 of the Protocol was clearly to capture the intentional trade of LMOs.

“New Zealand’s position is to ensure that there is no possibility of our GE-free exports being incorrectly labelled as possibly containing LMOs,” said David Benson-Pope.

“New Zealand fully supports addressing the issue of adventitious presence of LMOs under more appropriate and workable parts of the Cartagena Protocol”.

David Benson-Pope also noted that New Zealand and Brazil have not significantly changed their negotiating positions. The proposed text from Brazil for Article 18.2(a) does not include “adventitious presence” and all Parties, including New Zealand, are working together to reach agreed documentation requirements.

ENDS

Note - Adventitious presence is the unintended presence of some GM material, despite best endeavours by all concerned to avoid it. For example, miniscule levels of GM soybean in a consignment of non-GM soybeans that might be picked up in the handling chain, or in a ship’s hold from a previous consignment.

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