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Insurers Refuse Cover For GE Experiments

22th April 2002

"Insurers Refuse Cover For GE Experiments, Despite OK On Sabotage ."

The willingness of an insurance company to cover AgResearch against sabotage and terrorism is a signal that the risks of such actions are reasonably low compared to the risks to the environment of genetically modified organisms, which are at present not being covered.

The fact that insurance companies have said they refuse to cover farmers field-trialling or
growing GM crops commercially against full liability is an indication that such calculations are just not possible. This is because of the unquantifiable risks of damage from environmental releases of GM organisms, mainly due to a lack of adequate data.

The result is that Crown Research Industries GE trials are indemnified by the government, hence the notion of "socialised" risk carried by the wider community.

“Those opposing commercial GM releases object to this as a false subsidy for private-profit GM applications and one that removes a moderating influence on the introduction of the technology,” says Jon Carapiet of GE Free New Zealand in Food and Environment.

The matter is currently being considered, by the Crown Law office, following the report of the Royal Commission on GM, a report on liability being due in May.

Parliament will vote shortly on an amendment to the HSNO Act allowing applications for commercial releases in October next year, despite continued wide scale contamination to major crops overseas.


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