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GE decision victory for NZ growers and farmers

GE decision victory for NZ growers and farmers

The High Court decision to uphold the Sustainability Council’s appeal on genetic engineering (GE) is a win for New Zealand’s primary sector, the Green Party said today.

The High Court has upheld the Sustainability Council’s appeal against the Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision, which allowed organisms resulting from new novel GE techniques to be signed off without public consultation. Scion (Forest Research Institute) had asked for a determination which may have allowed them to grow GE trees without public notification or process. This would have also allowed food crops using the same GE techniques to be commercialised without any requirement for public consultation.

“The Court has ruled that the EPA didn’t have the ability to allow these GE organisms to be signed off via a loop hole,” said Green Party GE spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“The original decision would have allowed a free for all using this new GE techniques before the European Union (EU) has even set rules about them.

“If the EU rules prevent imports of GE food using these techniques, and we allow them to be used here, we would be putting market access for our exports at risk.

“With a stroke of a pen the EPA was wiping out the clean green GE Free brand that so many of our producers use to sell to high value markets.

“People don’t want to eat GE food.

“We need to be investing in more high value agriculture, not GE foods which our markets don’t want.

“It’s great that now the proper approval process will need to be followed. The Environment Minister now needs to rule out circumventing the ruling by regulating to allow organisms using these new techniques to be approved without public consultation,” said Mr Browning.

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