Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Green Party Says ERMA Canola Decision Is Weak

The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) decision today on genetically engineered canola field trials in the South Island is so weak that it is almost meaningless, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

After official concern that pollen or seed from at least one of the trails could have escaped into the environment, and after months of ERMA talk about what it might do, the authority has now asked the genetic engineers to continue in-house monitoring.

"I am astounded that so little is being done about such a high risk to the environment," Ms Fitzsimons said. "ERMA should stand aside and allow a neutral process such as my suggested Royal commission of enquiry to take over. We also need an urgent moratorium on such tests."

The ERMA decision comes after the Sunday Star-Times reported in April that a crown research institute trial using genetically modified canola could have spread into the surrounding environment.

Genetically engineered canola was field tested between November 1996 and November 1997 at Dromore in Canterbury and St Andrews, South Canterbury by Crop and Food Research, the same government agency which has been placing African clawed toad genes in potatoes.

In April ERMA chief executive Bas Walker was quoted in the Sunday Star-Times saying: "The netting used to cover the crop developed holes at one point which posed a risk of escape from containment".

The Crop and Food trials and several others were approved by the Environment Minister under a voluntary regime before ERMA was set up last year. The approvals required the sites to be monitored after the crops were harvested, in case any further canola plants appeared.

"The latest decision amounts to one government agency letting another agency (Crop and Food Research) off the hook," Ms Fitzsimons said. "In recent months British scientists have discovered their first hybrid 'superweeds' after the spread of pollen from a genetically engineered English canola trial crop to wild turnip plants. Some of these wild plants have inherited their g-e parent's herbicide-resistant genes and were able to breed," she said. "The discovery comes after Scottish research work found canola pollen 4km from the nearest plant.

"Rather than continue in-house and previously unreliable monitoring we need to know urgently whether genetically engineered pollen or seed has already escaped and a proper assessment of environmental risks."

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Terror in NZ: Mosques Attacked in Christchurch

• There have been two attacks at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque next to Hagley Park, and at the Linwood Masjid Mosque in the suburb of Linwood, Christchurch
• Police commissioner says 50 confirmed dead in Christchurch terrorist attacks. One man charged with murder appeared in court on Saturday, two more apprehended - working to understand their involvement
• PM Jacinda Ardern has described it as a "terrorist attack" by those holding extremist views. She says NZ's gun laws will change.
• The national security threat level has been increased from low to high.
• Commissioner Bush said there were explosive devices attached to one vehicle that were stopped by police and these have been made safe by Defence Force personnel.


Gordon Campbell: On Effective Changes To Gun Laws And The SIS
Already, the government has signalled that its response to the Christchurch mosque shootings will proceed on two main fronts (a) changes to the gun laws (b) changes to the current surveillance behaviours of the Police and the SIS... More>>



"Grabbed And Struck In The Face": Greens Co-Leader Attacked While Walking To Work

Green Party co-leader James Shaw was the victim of an unprovoked attack when he was walking to work in Wellington. More>>


████████ ████ ███: Latest OIA Statistics Released

The latest statistics cover 110 agencies that collectively completed 18,106 official information requests between July and December 2018, a 16.4% increase on the 15,551 requests for the previous six months. More>>


'Hit And Run' Inquiry: New Legal Action Over Secrecy

The lawyer representing the Afghan villagers in the inquiry into Operation Burnham has launched legal proceedings calling for a judicial review in the investigation. More>>


From Hydro Plan To...: Mokihinui River Land To Join Kahurangi National Park

A total of 64,400 hectares of conservation land in the Mokihinui River catchment on the West Coast north of Westport, including 15 km of riverbed, is being added to Kahurangi National Park. “Adding this area, roughly half the size of Auckland City, to Kahurangi is the largest addition of land to an existing national park in New Zealand’s history,” Eugenie Sage said. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Shane Jones (And A Huawei Update)

For better and worse, this is a small country... any major business initiative aiming to benefit the Maori community in Northland is likely to come across the radar of a local Maori politician called Shane Jones. More>>


National's Political Donations: SFO To Investigate Jami-Lee Ross' Complaint

Independent MP Jami-Lee Ross says he understands the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into a complaint on a National Party donation is looking at tracing the money back through different bank accounts. More>>


Pike River: Drift Re-Entry Scheduled For 3 May

Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little has announced that in light of the current state of preparations, the scheduled date to commence re-entering and recovering the access tunnel to the Pike River Mine (the drift) will be Friday 3rd May. More>>




InfoPages News Channels