Voluntary Moratorium on GE - a poor start to the Royal Commission
Monday 17 April, 2000, Auckland, New Zealand
A voluntary moratorium on genetically engineered field
trials is a poor start for the Royal Commission, and calls
into question the integrity of the process, Greenpeace
stated today. Environment Minister Marian Hobbs today gave
the long awaited announcement on the terms of reference for
the Royal Commission on GE, which failed to place a ban on
GE field trials.
“To allow the possibility for some
GE field trials to continue, whilst carrying out a national
debate about the safety, ethics and risks of such trials,
is clearly a contradiction. The potential risks of genetic
pollution - which the Royal Commission is being set up to
investigate - may not be prevented by today’s announcement.
As the first major environmental issue Minister Marian
Hobbs has made a decision on, it is a disappointment to see
this poor commitment to a precautionary approach” said
Tricia Allen, Campaigns Director for Greenpeace.
“The risk of irreversibility posed by allowing
genetically engineered organisms to be grown is recognised
clearly by Minister Marian Hobbs in her press release of
today’s announcement. The wisdom of banning commercial GE
applications whilst the Commission meets is welcomed. But
combining this with a voluntary moratorium, which will
still allow field trials to go ahead in secret locations,
is a contradiction. This means that we can kiss goodbye to
the certainty of New Zealand being protected from genetic
pollution” said Tricia Allen.
“The Royal Commission now runs the risk of not protecting our country from genetic pollution whilst a proper debate takes place” said Tricia Allen.
For further information, contact Tricia Allen on +64 (0)9 630 6317 or +64 (0)25 790 817.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Where the term GE field trial is used here, Greenpeace does not refer to the application of GE technology for medical purposes, where these experiments are carried out within closed laboratory controlled conditions.