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Greens Let The Moratorium Cat Out Of The Bag

25 July 2002

Greens Let The Moratorium Cat Out Of The Bag

"Rod Donald has let the GM moratorium out of the Green Party's bag, with his reminder this morning that the Greens are seeking only a three-year extension of the existing moratorium." This today from Terry Dunleavy, national convener of Bluegreens, which tenders independent advice to the National Party on environment and heritage issues.

"On Radio New Zealand this morning, Rod Donald contradicted Labour leader Helen Clark's talk of a permanent moratorium, by saying that all the Greens wanted was another three years.

"This seems to be at odds with what his Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons has been saying around the country about the dangers of field trials and the release of GM organisms. She has being giving the impression that it's a matter of whether? Mr Donald says now that it's only a matter of when?

"It seems to me that one reason for these different spins on what the Greens really want is that Ms Fitzsimons is content to take us all back to nature, while Mr Donald wants the power, pay and perks of a Ministerial portfolio.

" In fessing up now to an extension of only three years, Mr Donald has also put himself at odds with his party's lap-poodles, Peter Elworthy, Simon Terry and co, who have called for five years.

Mr Dunleavy said there is no reason for the voting public to be confused about the different spins on the GM moratorium coming from the Green camp.

"In the first place, this is further confirmation of the status of the Green Party as flakey dreamers, who have no real relevance to the problems which New Zealanders face in Saturday's election. So the Greens can be ignored.

"In the second place, the public needs to be reminded that our interests are safeguarded by the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act passed in June 1996, now generally known as the HSNO Act. Its overall objective is to provide a streamlined and up-to-date system for managing risks from hazardous substances and new organisms (including genetically modified organisms) in New Zealand.

"Under the HSNO Act, that duty falls on the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA), acknowledged to have the most stringent powers of any similar authority anywhere in the world. No GM trial of any kind can begin without permission and supervision of ERMA on a case by case basis, and anyone opposed to any of those cases can express to ERMA the reasons for that opposition.

"This process was endorsed by the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, and is a practical expression of the majority view that New Zealand's economic and social interests are best served by proceeding with gene technology, but with caution. This has been accepted by all political parties except, it seems the two Alliance groups, and the Greens, although in the Greens' case, as Rod Donald now tells us, it will be OK with the Greens in another three years' time," said Mr Dunleavy.

More on www.bluegreens.org.nz

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