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Labour Party Delegates Back Public Concern

Auckland GE-Free Coalition (AGEFC) 23/3/02

Labour Party Delegates Back Public Concern Over "Sunshine Clause" Allowing Approval Of GE-Releases

A public vigil at the regional Labour Party conference in Auckland today was warmly welcomed by delegates attending the conference, with many proudly wearing a bright -green sticker stating " I support a GE-Free NZ" into the conference.

Many delegates and candidates from across the region said they shared concerns over legislation which automatically lapses in October 2003, allowing the approval of commercial release of Genetically Modified organisms to begin.

" We received a lot of support from Maori, and Pacific Island delegates, but also from people in the Chinese and Indian- communities represented at the conference. The GE-issue is clearly a multi-cultural and international one, that many in the Labour party have woken up to. Just why the legislation is being allowed to lapse automatically next year is a concern for everyone" said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for the Auckland GE-Free coalition.

"We were pleased that many delegates shared the public concern that it is illogical to allow approval of GM releases to begin without any consideration of results from research being undertaken by the government", said Jon.

This ongoing government-funded research includes:
- Economic damage from loss of "GM-free" exports
- Denying consumers choice by allowing 1% GE even in organic food
- Treaty of Waitangi issues
- Public subsidy of liability for GE-uses refused cover by
commercial
insurers
- A Biotechnology strategy allowing ethical GM applications in
containment

The legislation in question is the HSNO Amendment Act 2001,currently before a Parliamentary Select committee. The bill states in Part 2: Release and field testing of GM organisms," clause 73A: "Restricted period is a fundamental term defined to mean the period...ending on the close of 29 October 2003", so paving the way for approval of commercial release.

ENDS


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