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

Gordon Campbell: On NZ’s Complicity In Western Sahara

If David Parker really wants to hone his crisis-managing chops on an international trade dispute that New Zealand has been making worse for years, he maybe should be turning his attention to the Western Sahara.

Some background: two NZ companies called Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients appear to be the only independent firms in the world still willing to import phosphate from the disputed territory of the Western Sahara... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Malaysia Exposing Our Dodgy Policies On China

Last week, we all owed a vote of thanks to Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad for breaking with protocol during his bilateral with Jacinda Ardern. Reportedly, Mahathir used the photo opportunity phase of the meeting to launch into matters of genuine substance. More>>


Withdrawls After Police Uniform Ban: Auckland Pride Remains Committed

The Auckland Pride Board remains committed to creating a space for our rainbow communities to feel safe celebrating their gender and sexual identity, despite some institutions pulling out from the Parade in recent days. More>>


South Korea: State Visit By Korean President Moon Jae-In

The President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in will visit New Zealand from 2 to 4 December... “I am very much looking forward to welcoming President Moon to New Zealand,” said Jacinda Ardern. More>>

Health: Changes To Drinking Water Standards

David Clark said many of the changes he is making, which will take effect on 1 March 2019, are clarifications or corrections, “but there are two changes which will significantly improve the ability to test and respond to the presence of harmful bacteria such as E.coli”. More>>


IPCA: Police Detention "Unlawful But Reasonable"

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that while Police acted unlawfully in October 2017 when they detained a Queenstown man for a mental health assessment, their actions were reasonable in the circumstances. More>>


Joint Statement: Chile President's NZ Visit

At the invitation of the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, undertook a State Visit to New Zealand on 19 November 2018... More>>


Climate Change: Top Academics Call On Government To Take Action

One hundred and fifty academics and researchers from around Aotearoa, including Dame Anne Salmond, Emeriti Professors and several Fellows of the Royal Society, have signed a strongly-worded open letter to the Government demanding bold and urgent action to tackle climate change. More>>





InfoPages News Channels