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GE ‘Polluter Pays’ Principal Paramount

GE ‘Polluter Pays’ Principal Paramount

Auckland Friday 4 October: “The suggestion by Pacific Seeds regional boss Howard Morris that New Zealand taxpayers should pay for the cost of someone else’s GE pollution is ridiculous,” said Steve Abel, Greenpeace GE campaigner.

The regional director of Pacific Seeds Howard Morris stated on Radio New Zealand this morning: “When GE seeds are accidentally imported the cost of managing the incident should be borne by the community that has made the decision to remain GE free.”

Mr Abel said, “This statement by Mr Morris highlights the failings of the Governments ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to GE liability.”

The Government public discussion paper on GE states [the Govt] is ‘not at this point proposing any changes in relation to liability in respect of GMOs’.

“The current legal uncertainty leaves non-GE producers and the public liable for the reckless spread of GE contamination by biotech companies,” said Abel.

“It is this attitude that has left victims of dioxin contamination from chemical companies liable for the costs of their own healthcare,” said Abel.

GE seed has contaminated all levels of the US agricultural industry, which is where New Zealand’s maize seed contaminations originated. Law-suits are flying left, right and centre in the States, where biotech companies are suing farmers for patent infringement and farmers are suing biotech companies for contamination of non-GE crops and loss of export markets.

“This lack of clarity is not good for the economic confidence of anyone on either side of the GE fence, said Abel.”

“The reality is that unless it is made clear that GE companies are liable for the economic or environmental harm they do through contaminating non-GE producers – then the cost of contamination will be borne by the innocent party – such as conventional or organic farmers, or the public,” said Abel.

The Government must take a position on GE liability. It would be anathema to most New Zealanders if the polluter was not held responsible for their pollution so the “polluter pays” principle must be the basis of any GE liability laws.

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