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Musical and skyborne messages against GE

Oct 29, 1999

Musical and skyborne messages against genetic engineering

Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons will be one of the key speakers at a rally and music festival against genetically engineered food in Wellington tomorrow.

The rally, which will include a sky-diver with a GE-free banner, will be based at Frank Kitts Park, after a march from Parliament at noon. Performers include The Offbeats, Shona Laing, Wayne Mason, Twice The Spice, South Side of Bombay and the Chris Jones Band.

Ms Fitzsimons is speaking between musical performances at about 2pm.

"This musical rally has come at an opportune time, a week after Health Minister Wyatt Creech and his Australian counterparts announced they are shelving the labelling of GE foods for another year or more," Ms Fitzsimons said today. "On December 17 last year ministers of Australian states outvoted New Zealand's minister Tuariki Delamere, and required transtasman labelling of g-e food, but we have yet to see a single official GE label on supermarket shelves."

The rally, organised by Revolt Against Genetic Engineering (RAGE), has also come a week after the Environmental Risk Management Authority allowed a trial of genetically engineered maize to go ahead despite Northern Hemisphere concern about such a crop. International company Pioneer Hi-Bred has been given the go-ahead by the authority to grow genetically-engineered insect resistant maize at Pukekohe.

"A number of European countries have refused to approve this variety of maize for human consumption and the approval makes us wonder if there is anything that the authority will ever turn down," Ms Fitzsimons said. "Bt maize is one of the most dangerous genetic engineering experiments and a serious threat to organic farming. The pollen is toxic, bees can carry it five kilometres; the wind can carry it much further.

"As European countries turn away from genetic engineering it is even more important that New Zealand strives to become a GE-free organic nation so that we meet demands of future markets," Ms Fitzsimons said. "The Green Party will make it a priority in the next government to set up a Royal commission of inquiry and impose a moratorium on genetically engineered field-trials and food."

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP 04 4706661, 025 586068, Paul Bensemann, Press Secretary 021 214 2665

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