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Biotech lobbyists asked to behave or stay away

Biotech lobbyists asked to behave or stay away from GE-free March

One of the groups supporting Saturday's GE-Free march in Auckland is hoping those pushing for commercial release of GE organisms will not repeat the embarrassing scenes of last September's march and will either behave respectfully or stay away from the event.

Jon Carapiet from GE-Free NZ in food and environment says the march and concert are a family-event attended by children and the elderly who should not be exposed to the antics and abuse of a few fanatical GE lobbyists.

"Last year a small group of people promoting the biotech industry were joined by others who clearly came to abuse people rather than listen to public concerns or have sensible debate. That is wrong. They give a bad name to the whole pro-GE faction and lose all credibility when they deliberately ignore the scientific concerns underpinning the community's demand for GE containment and for ethical biotechnology", says Mr Carapiet.

"Of course pro-GE lobbyist have the right to their opinion but they do not need to attack members of the public on the one day ordinary people are able to voice support for keeping GE under strict control," he says.

'"GE supporters may benefit from listening to the issues raised by scientists, business people and other speakers at the event but they are not entitled to disrupt the peace. They can organise their own march another day, and of course they already have a powerful voice at all levels of government and media because they have the financial backing of biotech companies," says Mr Carapiet.

GE-lobbyist's attempts to deride public support for the Precautionary Principle as the view of Luddites is deliberately misleading but continues to be promulgated by some media outlets, presumably working to their own agenda. Last September's rally was attended by thousands of people and it is hoped that many will again march on Saturday.

"Whether the march is attended by more or less people than last time the facts of the situation remain the same. The Public of Aoteraoa New Zealand demands the preservation of our GE-Free opportunity in agriculture and an ethical biotechnology industry that respects human rights and community values,' says Mr Carapiet.

" That is the message from this march to biotech businesses and government. It is time the different groups involved in the debate sat down together round the table. The government's obsequience to biotech speculators in industry, and what appears to be deliberate sidelining of the Public with fake consultations, cannot continue."

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