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Labour Weekend 2002- Helium Balloon Release

Press Release - National coalition of GE-free community groups

Nationwide Contamination Alert Blowing in the Wind.

Labour Weekend 2002 - Helium Balloon Release

Auckland: Monday 28th October, 5pm, Mt Eden summit

Labour weekend will mark the launch of a nationwide education campaign alerting the public to the looming threat of airborne GE contamination should the government allow commercial GM release from next October. The reality of contamination by wind borne pollen will be signalled in 25 regional centres by the release of 12 orange helium balloons -one for each remaining month of the present moratorium on GM release. The action is being supported by GE-Free groups from Dunedin to KeriKeri.

The Nationwide Helium Balloon release marks the ONE YEAR COUNTDOWN to the lapse of the government's moratorium on the commercial release of Genetically Modified /Genetically Engineered Organisms into our environment. Experience overseas shows GE pollen has already contaminated conventional crops and honey-production many kilometres from GM crop-sites. Step by step the outside release of GE organisms threatens New Zealand's GE-free status, food exports, the environment, and peoples' basic right to choose.

The balloons represent pollen, but unlike GM-pollen only a symbolic number are being released to minimise any risk that the balloons might themselves cause pollution. In reality genetic pollution from just one GE crop will involve millions of spores spreading across the country.

Each balloon will carry a message asking the finder to contact the local organising group to advise how far away from the launch site it was found. The message will highlight the fact that in one year, no one will have a choice about whether or not they want their own property, their local area, their region or the whole of Aotearoa New Zealand to remain GE Free.

This action also highlights the nonsense of the proposed attempts via amendments to the Hazardous Substance & New Organisms (HSNO 1996) ACT to allow for conditional release of GE organisms into our environment. Where the balloons go, airborne GE contamination can follow, not to mention other routes such as waterborne contamination and pollinating insects like bees!

A website address will allow people to register and track the balloons found:


Forthcoming events in Auckland will further highlight the level of resistance to GE. Thousands of people are expected to support the March and Rally on November 16, demanding Aotearoa New Zealand remain GE-Free in food and environment.

a.. Saturday November 16th Aotea Square 12:00 Noon b.. Monday November 18th 8.00 a.m. Protest at the Biotech Conference, Sheraton Hotel, Symond Street

Auckland Contact Details: Karyn Amoore 09 358 4105 025 417 209

Coryn Smith 09 3613077

National Coalition Contact: Gaye Dyson 06 3680384 021 440621

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