Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


GE-free march helps mark a path


GE-free march helps mark out path for a national biotechnology strategy

Saturday's GE-Free march in Auckland is more than a protest march and will voice civil society's demand for an ethical biotechnology strategy in New Zealand.

The march comes a day after the deadline closed for public submissions to the Ministry for the Environment on GE release, enquiring into how contamination can be limited to allow GE organisms to co-exist with conventional agriculture.

But the Ministry's proposals are based on use of buffer zones and other techniques that have failed overseas indicating a fundamental conflict between official acceptance of GM contamination and the New Zealand Public's unequivocal rejection of it.

" This march can be seen as a mass- public-submission to the government, but one which comes just a day after their deadline,' says Jon Carapiet spokesperson for the Auckland GE-Free Coalition and the national spokesperson for GE-Free NZ ( in food and environment).

Jon Carapiet- says the march is not about banning GE but about ensuring live organisms do not spread irreversibly into the environment, and that GE-Free production, our economy, culture and basic human rights are protected for future generations.

Mr Carapiet believes the march will add even more weight to a written submission to the Ministry , (summarised below), that has been endorsed by civil society organisations representing many thousands of people.

" I believe this march and the written submission should be welcomed by the government. The message it sends is that ethical use of biotechnology is the only future for New Zealand and that requires GE to be contained, not forced on erveryone by releasing it into our fields and food."

The majority of the New Zealand public wants our food and environment to remain GE-Free but people are not rejecting modern science. People are rejecting bad science that lacks ethical oversight and has become compromised by commercial interests and weak regulation.

" There is a path forward for the biotechnology industry in Aotearoa New Zealand but it requires genuine respect for wider community values", says Mr Carapiet.

"The march is an opportunity for the government and industry to listen and start developing a genuinely ethical strategy for biotechnology predicated on containment of GE. It is not good enough that the Public's message has so far fallen on deaf ears as approval for human genes to be inserted into cows has recently shown."

5)Summary of key points

The submitters oppose "conditional release" of GE/GM organisms.


Attempts tostop GM contamination with controls such as buffer zones have failed to
protect conventiona! l and organic crops in Europe and North America. No release - "conditional" or otherwise- of GM organisms should be allowed.


The submitters acknowledge the Government's decision that "New Zealand proceed carefully and implement GM selectively and cautiously". However release of GMO's into the environment should not be part of this policy. The Government's biotechnology strategy can be achieved through fully contained applications that meet community values and ethical standards but do not require GE organisms to be released into the environment or food chain.

The HSNO Act and regulatory process must be improved to integrate issues of
ethics and culture in a decisive way. This should include a regulatory role
for the Bio Ethics Council, including a power of veto. The submitters support the inclusion of "cultural, ethical and spiritual issues" as part of the criteria for assessing all applications and not just part of Ministerial "call-in" powers.


The submitters support a permanent ban on human reproductive cloning
and inheritable genetic modification of human beings ('designer humans').


A separate Act from HSNO is needed to regulate genetic modification of
human cell lines and human material. An effective and accountable system is
needed to regulate other human genetic technologies e.g. stem cell research,
pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and human somatic gene therapy. The most cost-effective and practicable approach to managing risk is PREVENTION of contamination by approving only contained applications for GM organisms.

There must be full and unlimited liability, even for so-called 'unforeseen' damage, to encourage companies to fully control GE/GM organisms in all situations. Existing liability rules neither encourage precaution nor produce effective compensation.


Commercial insurance must be required of GM-companies as a normal cost
of business and a moderating influence. "Socialising" risk on the public
is an unacceptable subsidy of commercial GM users. Under the principle of
"Polluter Pays" the costs of compensation and remedial action must be carried by the user to ensure reasonable standards of caution in commercial GM speculation.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Open Source // Open Society - Full Coverage

Gordon Campbell:
On The Reserve Bank And Auckland Housing

The ‘crisis – what crisis?’ response by the government to the Auckland housing price bubble is no longer acceptable.

So says Reserve Bank governor Grant Spencer – who used unusually frank language in his speech and subsequent interviews yesterday to call for a capital gains tax, and to generally chastise central and local government for their inaction on a threat to the country’s economic health and financial stability.

That threat has been real for some time. The housing price bubble has already created a currency bubble... Undaunted, the government keeps calling this situation a success story. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Bangladesh: GCSB Dragging NZ Into Human Rights Abuses

The New Zealand government should stop providing intelligence assistance to Bangladeshi security agencies that are known to systematically engage in human rights abuses, said the Green Party today. More>>

ALSO:

Troops Heading To Iraq: Government Must Come Clean On Deployment

New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture of secrecy and unknown protections around the deployment.” More>>

ALSO:

Image: Strikers And Protestors Join Outside McDonald's

A group of protestors took to McDonald’s Manners St today as a part of the international fast food workers day of action to end zero hour contracts. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Special Education Funds Not Spent

More than $32 million of funding for children with special needs has not been spent by the Government, despite families of children with special needs complaining for years that they’ve been denied the support they deserve. More>>

ALSO:

John Key: Pre-Budget Speech To Business NZ

So this Government will remain relentlessly focused on improving the competitiveness of our economy... We will continue to give businesses a platform to invest, grow and create jobs in the knowledge they will be backed by a clear and consistent government policy programme. More>>

ALSO:

Multimedia: Andrew Little’s Response To John Key’s Pre-Budget Address

Labour Party leader Andrew Little spoke today on John Key’s pre-budget address this afternoon in Wellington. Little said National has had seven years to achieve a surplus and Kiwis have “fufilled their end of the bargain.” More>>

Surplus Baggage: Key Backs Off ‘Artificial Target’

John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On UE Pass Rates And University Dropout Rates

Houston, there is clearly a problem with (a) the plunge in pass rates for University Entrance qualifications, which has been especially steep among Maori students and also a problem with (b) the failure rates for Maori students among those who reach university... Unfortunately the two problems seem related. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news