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Ministers'defence of MAF over deadline inadequate

Ministers'defence of MAF over submissions deadline inadequate.

There is growing anger over MAF"s failure to give proper notice to key stakeholders about consultation on how New Zealand will handle the practicality of coexistence of GE and non GE primary production.

Minister Pete Hodgson defended the lack of notice by claiming the information, which was issued with only a 2-week deadline, had been on the website some weeks before the notice.

Appeals for extension of the deadline have so far been rejected, the excuse is that the government has a schedule of legislation to keep to.

A complaint has now been made to the Ombudsman, by Zelka Grammer spokesperson for GE Free Northland, who says she had ongoing communication with MAF specifically requesting documents relating to consultation on GE coexistence, and regional exclusions zones.

" They knew we were searching for the information, and it could not have been properly posted on the website as Pete Hodgson has argued,' says Ms Grammer.

" Either information has been deliberately withheld or the system has broken down, but instead of fixing it they are pretending its OK. It is not OK. MAF only issued a Press Release on l November" says Ms Grammer.

There have been reports of other groups including Maori being given ridiculously short notice - in some case 2 days.

" We are still in discussion with MAF , but if the system isn't fixed to restore proper process for public imput there is a real risk of things degenerating into a boycott."

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