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New Zealand urged to take moral stand on GE

GE Free New Zealand
In Food And Environment Inc.

PRESS RELEASE – 7 June 2002

New Zealand urged to take moral stand on 5-year global moratorium as Chinese reveal Damage from GE Cotton.

The New Zealand government should take a lead as it has done through its nuclear-free stand, and help developing nations by backing a global moratorium on GE releases.

The call follows Chinese scientists announcing environmental damage to from Bt cotton. New Zealand must take a scientific and ethical stand in support of Asian and African nations while the international regulatory works out how to deal with newly identified

A study by Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences under the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), reported by the Chinese news agency Xinhua says "the Bacillus thurengensis (Bt) cotton transgenic cotton, which makes up 35 per cent of China's cotton crop, is damaging the environment. The plant harms the population of natural parasitic enemies of bollworm and seemed to encourage other pests."

" The global system is a shambles. In countries like India , the regulatory agencies have failed to stop illegal seed smuggling, and corporate pressure has lead them to overlook new scientific data" said Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ ( in food and environment).

The Chinese report says the diversity index of the insect community in the Bt cotton fields is lower than conventional cotton fields, while the pest dominant concentration index is higher. Bt cotton did not resist bollworm after being planted to eight to 10 years continuously, the scientists found out.

This shocking disclosure comes as the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of India is under tremendous pressure from the US Department of
Agriculture to accord approvals to cotton and other GM crops presently under field testing. The GEAC, which has become a 'clearing-house' for controversial GM technologies at the behest of the multinational seed companies, had approved Bt cotton for commercial planting along with dubious riders like 20 per cent mandatory refuge to be maintained by the farmer and to be monitored by the seed company.

"We already know from EU research that such buffer zones are doomed to fail. The Chinese announcement shows insect populations can be disastrously destabilised, " said Mr Carapiet. "New Zealand has a moral responsibility to speak out against GM crops being forced on countries under threat of WTO or other sanctions."

Ends - contact spokesperson Jon Carapiet- 09 815 3370

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