Auckland, 23 May 2002.
The Green Party stance on legislation allowing the GE moratorium to expire automatically in October next year is a sensible position given international caution on GE organisms.
A secret EU study (1) leaked to Greenpeace states that all farmers would face high additional, in some cases unsustainable costs of production if genetically engineered (GE) crops were commercially grown in a large scale in Europe. The study predicts that the situation would become particularly critical for organic farming of oilseed rape as well as for intensive production of conventional maize.
“This report sounds alarm bells for every farmer, and has considerable ramifications for New Zealand. It confirms that GE will contaminate both conventional and organic crops if allowed, and will increase costs of farming. Meanwhile farmers will face uncertain markets for their produce because markets are demanding GE free,” said Annette Cotter GE campaigner.
“More and more international evidence is pointing to the folly of growing GE crops. The Government is taking an unacceptable risk with both our environment and our markets, by allowing field trials now, and commercial crops next year.”
“The Green’s refusal to support the bill allowing commercial releases of GE next year shows a cautious and sensible approach to an unpredictable technology which will undermine our ability to farm in a sustainable manner.”
The main findings of the report were:
Commercialisationof GE canola and maize and to a lesser extent potatoes will increase costs of farming for conventional and organic farmers from between 10 and 41 per cent of farm prices for oilseed rape and between one and nine percent for maize and potatoes.
Coexistenceof GE farming and organic farming would be impossible in many cases.
Seedand crop purity from GE at a detection level of 0.1 percent would be virtually impossible in most cases, i.e. all products and seeds of oilseed rape and maize would be contaminated with GE.