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Anti-GMO advocates should have special status


Anti-GMO advocates should have special status at Royal Commission

“The New Zealand Life Sciences Network (Inc) is concerned that anti-GMO organisations like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth may have difficulty in establishing they have an interest greater than that of the general public when it comes to applications for “Persons entitled to be heard” status at the Royal Commission,” Network Chairman, Dr William Rolleston said today.

“It is true these organisations constantly claim they are representing the views of the public, and consumers, and therefore it might be said they don’t have any views which are greater than those of the public.”

“However, these multi-national organisations have been waging an international campaign against genetic modification and should therefore be given the opportunity to put forward the evidence which they claim supports their assertions about the dangers of genetic technology and the way it is being developed.

“We think these assertions need to be tested and unless Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth call witnesses who can be cross-examined none of us, including the Royal Commission, will be any the wiser.”

“We do ask the Green Party, because it is represented in Parliament, to consider whether or not having special status at the Royal Commission will create a conflict of interest. After all, the Royal Commission will report to the Government, which will take any proposed legislative changes to Parliament.

“The Green Party will be one of the parties in Parliament that will have to consider what to do with legislation based on the Report of the Royal Commission and its recommendations. The Green Party may end up putting itself in the role of being Judge in a case it has declared it has a special interest in.

“One way to resolve the potential conflict may be for the Green Party to decide it will make written submissions on the same basis as members of the general public. Alternatively, it could decide it won’t participate in the debate or decision making process in Parliament.”

For further information, contact:

Dr William Rolleston Francis Wevers

Interim Chairman Executive Director

Phone 03 612 6688 Phone 04 916 0100

Mobile 025 2460634 Mobile 021 916010

Date: Sunday, 6 August 2000


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