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



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news