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


Green Party issues details of report on GenePool

A parliamentary select committee report has confirmed that nearly all last year's expenditure by the genetic engineering lobby group Gene Technology Information Trust (usually called GenePool) went to the public relations firm Communications Trumps.

The education and science committee report also includes a heading "Conflict of interest" which says, "At the same time as it [Communications Trumps] was assisting the trust it was also advising King Salmon, a company which used gene technology to alter its product". The report's conclusion says that one of the "aspects about the operations of the trust" that gave cause for unease was: "The trust's pamphlet which appears to provide only one side of the issue". Another was: "The central role of Communications Trumps, which was also acting for a company using gene technology".

The report says: "We received the trust's income and expenditure account for the period ending 31 December 1998. It shows that the trust's total expenditure was $196,314.98. Of that, $189,140.42 was paid to a public relations firm, Communications Trumps".

Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today: "I am relieved that we now know what we suspected all along - that Communications Trumps received most of GenePool's funds, and that taxpayer money has been used to promote genetic engineering. Communications Trumps was closely associated with the trust, sharing office facilities and staff.

"I remain disturbed that there is nothing to stop this scenario being played out again when GenePool's successor launches itself, something I am expecting any day."

Income is also included in the report, showing taxpayers spent more than $100,000 funding GenePool. This included $30,625 from Crown research institutes, $70,000 from government science grants, while $27,500 came from Monsanto. Ms Fitzsimons said she was concerned that GenePool had long claimed to be an unbiased education trust, with the stated purpose (according to the committee report) of "providing authoritative gene technology information to enable New Zealanders to make informed choices about the use of the technology".

"We now know that it received a `substantial donation from Monsanto' in the words of the committee's report and that the trust's pamphlet `appears to provide only one side of the issue'."

In April this year Ms Fitzsimons released a leaked document written by Communications Trumps. The document, prepared for New Zealand King Salmon, advised the firm that in relation to its genetic engineering programme, "issues such as deformities, lumps on heads etc should not be mentioned at any point to any outside".

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news