WHICH WAY WILL THE GOVERNMENT FALL ON DEADLY DIOXINS?
3 December 2000 – Auckland: Cabinet will decide tomorrow (Monday 4 December) whether New Zealand should stay with the obstructive handful of countries in the Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (toxics treaty) negotiations or to protect our health and environment.
Cabinet will finalise its position at the last minute before the final international negotiations on the toxics treaty begin on Monday 4 December in Johannesburg, South Africa. The negotiations run until 9 December.
“The main decision the Government must make is whether it will allow New Zealand to join the vast majority of nations and push for a strong toxics treaty in order to protect the environment and people’s health”, said Sue Connor, Greenpeace toxics campaigner. “The alternative is that the Government can continue to bow to the pressure of the United States and a few other nations and seriously weaken the toxics treaty11 Known as JUSCANZ – Japan, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.”, said Sue Connor.
“Most nations have agreed to aim to eliminate all of the 12 dangerous chemicals (known as the ‘dirty dozen’) targeted by the toxics treaty, however a small and select handful of nations are undermining this global aspiration”, said Connor. “This small group, which includes New Zealand, have been refusing to aim to eliminate dioxins, one of the most harmful chemicals known.
“However, recently the Minister for the Environment, Hon. Marian Hobbs indicated that New Zealand could agree to an aim to eliminate dioxins”, said Connor. “Greenpeace now challenges the government to follow through on the Marian Hobbs’ statement and join the vast majority of nations to support this global aim”.
The chemicals targeted by the toxics treaty include dioxins, DDT, dieldrin, polychlorinated biphenols (PCB’s). All of the chemicals except dioxins have been banned for use in New Zealand, only dioxins are still legally pumped into the environment.
“Dioxins are some of the most dangerous chemicals known to humans”, said Connor. “Not only do they cause an increase in all cancers, but studies show that dioxins can reduce the intelligence of children exposed during development and infancy. They are also linked with birth defects, infertility and diabetes”, said Connor
Sue Connor, Greenpeace toxics campaigner is attending the toxics treaty negotiations in Johannesburg.
For more information contact Logan Petley on 025 828 028 or Sue Connor on +61 401 770 396.