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Govt Putting Business Before Bio-Ethics

NZ government criticised for putting business before Bio-Ethics. Prime Minister urged to follow Switzerland and make pre-election gesture of 5-year moratorium on GE crops.

NZ government criticised for putting business before Bio-Ethics. Prime Minister urged to follow Switzerland and make pre-election gesture of 5-year moratorium on GE crops.

News that trade and business has been put before ethics has angered GE Free groups. The Government is also being urged to make a gesture to the electorate, following the Swiss government, and agree to a 5-year moratorium on releases.

The Swiss Parliamentary recently voted to go ahead with a 5 year moratorium on releases of GE organisms whilst our government is going in the other direction. 24 New Zealand companies at a biotech trade fair in Toronto have this week been supported by Government minister Pete Hodgson. His attendance aims to raise the profile of GE and biotechnology companies, who as part of a Trade NZ initiative are touting for orders, despite Washington Post reports of plummeting investment in the US biotech industry.

There are concerns that the recent setting up of a Biotechnology Strategy Group, 'a who's who in GE', has occurred weeks prior of a BioEthics Council being set up, due to be headed by Sir Paul Reeves.

"This again demonstrates that the government is biased in its intent on promoting a particular industry, not only is it subsidising it with research grants and other handouts but it also is allowing the public to pick up the tab for any liability . This effectively gives these controversial experiments free insurance since no insurance company will cover all risks from GE" said Jon Carapiet - a spokesperson for GE-Free NZ ( Food and Environment)

GE Free New Zealand also calls for the Royal Society of New Zealand to follow their UK counterparts decision to abandon its pro GM stance. The recent screening of a TV drama on GE contamination in the UK has brought fresh controversy to the GE debate, and the UK Royal Society are calling for an investigation into claims of the benefits of testing cloned animals and GM products.

Just days after a BBC2's Newsnight programme questioned a major PR company called the Bivings group about a smear campaign, discrediting scientists findings of widespread contamination of maize heritage varieties in Mexico. The electronic campaign apparently initiated from Bivings computers, resulted in the unprecedented retraction of a peer -reviewed paper in Nature. Critiques from three, unnamed scientists, led to this, despite only one scientist disputing the main finding that DNA from GM plants infected wild maize. Only this expert said the article should be disowned.

" The NZ government should wake up to the spin from vested interests in business and adhere to the Precautionary Principle. A 5-year moratorium as the Swiss are moving on would be an ideal pre-election gift to the concerned citizens of this country, " said Mr Carapiet

June 4th Switzerland: The Commission Responsible for GM oversight in the Swiss Parliament voted 13:12 in favour of a five years legal moratorium on the commercial release of genetically modified plants in Switzerland. In September the plenary of the parliament will take the final decision.

ENDS

More info:- Jon Carapiet 09 815 3370 Susie Lees 03 546 7966


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