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Possible public say over King Salmon trial

Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) must this week say yes to public input into New Zealand King Salmon's genetic engineering project.

"Although the experiment was started five years ago with no public say, we must have a hearing soon if King Salmon wishes to continue," Ms Fitzsimons said.

This week ERMA is releasing a report on King Salmon.

If the authority decides the firm's efforts to produce fast-growing fish at Kaituna, near Blenheim, is a field-trial rather than a laboratory experiment, it should under its own rules allow a public hearing.

Ms Fitzsimons today praised the new authority for initiating its study. "This reassessment should provide the first opportunity for public input on the possibility of escape of mutant salmon or their eggs to the natural environment," she said.

"But it's outrageous that it has taken five years, of what is in effect a field trial of both young and adult salmon, before New Zealanders can be given a say," she said. "We still know few details of the trial, but hopefully, if King Salmon decides to continue its tests, we will be given some answers."

The ERMA reassessment comes after a public relations document was leaked to the Green Party early this year.

The paper, written by the Wellington-based firm Communications Trumps, advised King Salmon to keep its genetic engineering work quiet.

A sentence in the paper reads: "Issues such as deformities, lumps on heads etc should not be mentioned at any point to anyone outside".

Ms Fitzsimons will speak about King Salmon and other genetic engineering matters at a Nelson public meeting at 7pm, at the Trafalgar Centre, on Thursday, July 22.

Tonight at a public meeting at Paeroa Racecourse at 7pm she will speak about genetic engineering as it affects rural people.

ENDS

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