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Conventional agricultural exports on notice

27.8.02

Government's commitment to lift GE moratorium lacks scientific, economic or moral sense.
"Economic vandalism" puts conventional agricultural exports on notice.

The Government's parliamentary statement that it wants to lift the moratorium on GE releases next year reveals the government intends to push GE on New Zealand whatever the outcome of wide ranging research being undertaken in response to the Royal Commission.

"Current international evidence on commercial bases alone says we should not be allowing commercial release. It is astonishing the government of New Zealand is moving rapidly towards it. It is economic vandalism."says Jon Carapiet, a spokesperson for GE-Free NZ in food and environment.

Given the outstanding issues such as liability, rejection of GM food by world markets - even in the form of food-aid, and repeated accidents of cross- contamination, commitment to any form of GE commercial release cannot be justified.

By prejudging the research, the government makes policy assumptions that are already out of date. It is not a case of rejecting the technology but controlling it.

GE and conventional non-GE agriculture cannot co-exist. The NZ government has no way to stop 'co-mingling' of GE into conventional products.

"Government claims to be evaluating the issue is hypocrisy. The review of ERMA negotiated with the Greens is a sham if it allows ERMA to make a national policy decision by default, ' says Mr Carapiet.

" The government is ignoring its responsibility to set policy when current assessments already signal against commercial release in the foreseeable future."

Suggestions that New Zealand is not 'GE-Free' are also to be dismissed.

"New Zealand is as GE-Free as we are Nuclear-Free. You can still have an X-ray using radioactive material, and you can still buy GE insulin. But our export markets should be assured that all commercial crops; New Zealand-grown vegetables, fruit, honey, meat and dairy products are essentially "GE-Free"," says Mr Carapiet. "Claims to the contrary are anti-New Zealand propaganda."

Ends

Contact Jon Carapiet- 09 815 3370


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