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GE Free Coalition Launched In Dunedin

Concerned members of the public and representatives of the Dunedin Environment Centre and the Green Party met last night to discuss their reactions to the Royal Commission’s report on genetic modification. Following lively discussion, the meeting resulted in the formation of the Coalition for a GE Free Environment.

The coalition aims to do whatever possible to make New Zealander’s aware of the dangers posed by the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) in the environment and foodstuffs.

“The Coalition is committed to ensuring that the government extends the moratorium on GE field trials. We are opposed to the hasty introduction of any legislation that will allow genetically modified organisms to be released into our environment.” Said Coalition spokesperson Duncan Eddy.

They declared their lack of faith with the methods of the Royal Commission, and complete dissatisfaction with the Commission’s recommendations.

“The Royal Commission ignored the views of the vast majority of submitters. Considering that only two percent of submissions they received were in favour of GE, their recommendations were irresponsible, and clearly not representative of the evidence and arguments presented.”

Several members of the group were entirely opposed to the presence of any genetic engineering in New Zealand, but the group has decided to collectively take a more moderate stance. They feel that the GE debate has become convoluted, and that many people are unaware of the difference between contained GE research and uncontained GE practices and produce.

“We accept that there may be a place in this country for genetic engineering for scientific and medical purposes. What we are concerned about is the release of GMO’s into our environment, and the existence of GMO’s in our food. We do not oppose continuing GE research, as long as it is carried out in secure laboratory conditions, with no possibility that these organisms will contaminate the wider environment.”

Those present at last night’s meeting have signed a letter expressing their views to Minister of the Environment, Marion Hobbs. The letter has also been sent to a number of other ministers who play important roles in the final decision regarding the future of GE in New Zealand.

Members of the Coalition for a GE Free Environment will present Prime Minister Helen Clark with the letter and a gift of organic goods when she visits College St School in Caversham this afternoon.

“Our nation’s future health and prosperity are at stake. We must ensure that our elected representatives are aware of this massive responsibility that they carry.”

(ends)


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