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Greens Deliberately Misrepresent Federated Farmers

November 2000 PR132/2000

Greens Deliberately Misrepresent Federated Farmers Policy

Federated Farmers President Alistair Polson said today that the Green Party were deliberately misrepresenting the federation's policy on genetic modification.

Mr Polson was responding to a media release by MP Ian Ewen-Street, which stated that the federation's Vice President, organic dairy farmer Tom Lambie, was "selling out organic farmers in advocating for genetic engineering in agriculture."

"The federation's policy is one of choice. Farmers should have the choice of using whichever system they like - organic conventional, or GM - provided that crop or product has been through a safe and effective regulatory regime," Mr Polson said.

"It is perfectly clear and simple. The federation does not advocate for any particular system. We encourage each farmer to adopt the best system their individual resources."

"Mr Ewen-Street accused the federation of being out of touch with NZ farmers, but he did not bother to attend the Commission, or listen to the federation's submission and testimony."

"The issue is too important for Mr Ewen-Street to be playing cheap political 'one up man ship'."

"Farmers want the choices to be left up to them, not have those choices limited because of some politician's agenda. If a specific use of GM technology is assessed as safe, then it should be available to New Zealand farmers and consumers as an option."

"The federation has tried to explain the importance of this element of choice to Mr Ewen-Street many times, and given him the opportunity to present his views to its 16,000 members. But he fails to recognise that farmers want to make up their own minds, not be dictated to by the Green Party.

The federation welcomes the Royal Commission process. The Commissioners are gathering evidence, and Federated Farmers hopes that it will make a decision that is rational and scientifically sound, not based on hearsay, innuendo and pseudo-science."

ENDS For further information: Alistair Polson 025-370-085 Catherine Petrey 04-473-7269


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