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Weaker Bill May Allow More Contamination

29 January 2002

Genetic Bill Restrictions A Farce. Weaker Bill May Allow More Contamination.

People are being deceived by the government, if they believe that promised stringent
regulations will be in place as a result of the new Amendment Bill. The HSNO
Amendment Bill, on which submissions close tomorrow, in its current form contradicts the recently stated aim of the government to impose stricter conditions on field trials, some new clauses actually threatening to weaken the original Act.

The bill could allow the greater use of field trials purporting medical benefits but fails to define criteria that identify any proof.
"In America tobacco with human genes producing serum and bananas producing
contraceptives are already being trialled," says Susie Lees from GE Free NZ
in Food and Environment, "Is that what we want for clean green New Zealand?
People need to tell the government again of their concerns and if they refuse
to take note, vote them out."

Definitions also create huge difficulties, as a recent ERMA conference on the Precautionary Principle demonstrated; the pro biotech lobby will be requesting soft definitions of terms to allow the continuation of these controversial and risky trials.
The HSNO Act 1996 was originally put together under the National government,
including Nick Smith, who recently described the Precautionary Principle designed to protect the environment as fine words. It succeeded the Interim Agreement under which field trials were permitted without effective controls.

"As our knowledge of this technology increases it becomes patently obvious that we are taking enormous risks with New Zealand agricultural production, exports and environment,” says Susie. “Any benefits have yet to be proven as documentation of adverse effects of transgenic crops overseas continues to mount.”
The GE government lapdog ERMA has already been taken to the appeal court on issues that have implications for all GE approvals under the HSNO Act and with public opinion set against field trials that endanger our food security and environment, the only certainty is that without adequate scientific research any risk assessment process is farcical.

For more information:- Susie Lees :- 03 546 7966 or Jon Carapiet 09 815 3370

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