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Maori Upfront On GM Moratorium

Wednesday, 10 July 2002

Press Release: Chris Webster, Independent Electorate Candidate for Te Tai Tonga

Miss Chris Webster, seeking to become the independent electorate candidate is today dismissing Minister Marian Hobbs response to allegations that the government had covered up a release of genetically modified corn seeds in 2000.

Miss Webster says there have been continual coverups,illegal GM experiments, and collusion between research institutes and ERMA and the government in the entire GM debate.

She says late last year Maori colleagues occupied the ERMA offices in Wellington and demanded the documentation associated with GE laboratory work.

"Maori as taxpayers should not have to occupy offices to get information about a technology that has the capacity to cripple our economy and our very existence.

"What the minister is saying flies in the face of the strict liability report - a report that the government refuses to release.

"If indeed it is proven that surrounding paddocks growing non-GM crops have been contaminated by these "inadvertent minute measures of contanmination, who, what person and when will strict liability responsibilities kick in?

"Given that the moratorium is all about considering the potential effects of GM it would have been smart for the government to justifiably order the removal of the plants and the destruction of the corn seed.

"The government has not moved quickly enough to develop new measures to guard against the inadvertent introduction of genetically modified seed.

"The minister must be reminded that for citizens, the voters, the taxpayers there also are no acceptable levels of GM contamination, particularly inadvertent introductions -- these are likely to cause the severest damage."

Ends.

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