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GE promoters scared of public spotlight

1 August 2008

GE promoters scared of public spotlight

The New Zealand genetic engineering lobby group Life Sciences Network has shown its true colours by fighting against both open information and protection for non-GE growers, says Greens Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.

Life Sciences Network Chairman Dr William Rolleston has said in a press statement that "tough new rules" around GE crops, as part of the Greens-Government cooperation agreement, would "stop good science in its tracks".

Says Ms Fitzsimons, "What he's really saying is that genetic engineering of food crops cannot survive open information and if they are not allowed to contaminate other crops.

"The Life Sciences Network has finally shown its true agenda. For nearly a decade the Green Party has been saying the ultimate aim of local genetic engineers and their international backers is to make it untenable for organic and other non-GE crops to flourish. They want to turn this country's agricultural industry into a gene transfer laboratory.

"Dr Rolleston is insisting on a regime that allows GE crops to contaminate other growers' products and damage their markets, with no liability. He is saying genetic engineers cannot innovate if they have to take responsibility for any harm they cause to others and is insisting other farmers pay the costs of any mistakes they make.

"If they are saying their crops are so unprofitable they can't afford a simple code of practice and traceability to keep them separate from non-GE crops - the same sort of systems that seed growers have been using for years - it suggests they don't have much to offer New Zealand."

In his statement, Dr Rolleston says, "The proposed strict liability regime will destroy innovation at a time when it is needed to increase food and crop production in the face of global warming and world population increases."

Ms Fitzsimons says it is ridiculous to use international food problems as an argument for GE because to date it has not increased yields overall, and it cannot address the main food issues of wastage and poor distribution. GE is threatening third world agriculture in some countries by patenting seeds and forcing out family farmers for the benefit of agricultural corporations.


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