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Labour Flunks GE Report Card

Capital GE Free

Friday May 17 2002

Capital GE Free has condemned Labour's failure to honour its promises about Genetic Engineering (GE). This week the group is launching a report card, which highlights the areas where Labour has performed poorly on GE policy. The release of the report card will coincide with the Labour Conference being held in Wellington this Saturday.

Labour made promises to New Zealanders about labelling and safety of GE foods, environmental release and Treaty issues relating to GE. According to Capital GE Free spokesperson, Fionnaigh McKenzie, Labour has failed to live up to the commitments they made in all four areas.

"Labour promised to ensure clear and effective labelling of GE foods, so that people with medical, cultural, religious or ethical objections to GE could make informed choices. The reality is that the current labelling regime allows most GE foods to go unlabelled," Ms McKenzie said.

Highly refined foods made from GE crops, low levels of GE ingredients, animal products from animals fed GE feeds, restaurant foods, takeaways, deli and bakery items are examples of GE foods allowed to slip through the cracks of the current labelling regime.

"Labour promised to ensure GE food sold in NZ is safe. Currently NZ relies on ANZFA to assess food safety, and ANZFA relies on inadequate research provided by manufacturers of GE products. Overseas bodies have criticised our safety standards. GE food being sold in New Zealand has not been tested for new allergens or toxins.

"Labour assured New Zealanders that they would take a "precautionary approach" when considering the release of Genetically Modified Organisms into "the unique conditions of the New Zealand environment," she said.

"Scientists around the world are calling for caution because of the unknown effects of GE on the environment and human health and yet Labour have made it clear that they intend to allow commercial release with no safeguards in October next year. The release of genetically modified organisms is irreversible."

"Labour expressed a commitment to work with Maori and to honour their obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Labour's response to GE dishonours Te Tiriti, denying Maori Tinorangatiratanga. The government has kept up an illusion of consultation with Maori but has not acted on Maori concerns."

"Unfortunately when it comes to GE issues, Labour's report card reads "failed" in every area. The commitments Labour made to New Zealanders have turned out to be nothing but empty promises," Ms McKenzie said.

Ends.

For more information contact Heather: Ph 04 971 3115


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