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If New Zealand fails nothing will be 100% GM-free

If New Zealand fails to follow their lead nothing will be "100% GM-free"

The decision by the Tasmanian government to ban commercial releases of GE crops for another 5 years will leave New Zealand lagging behind key competitors in efforts to protect GM-free primary production.

In Europe the decision by Swiss farmers to back a similar ban on GM crops should be a wake-up call to the New Zealand government that they are wrong to be dropping the moratorium on commercial GE release in October.

" It is vital the government protect our opportunities by following a similar path of caution," says Jon Carapiet , from GE-Free NZ in food and environment.

"Commercial GE releases will destroy New Zealand's standing if the only way to make "coexistence" work is to allow universal low-level GE contamination in conventional and organic foods ," says Mr Carapiet.

This week a visiting US scientist said that allowing a small percentage of GE in normal food was the price to be paid for the release of GE crops.

"The Royal Commmission asked the government to protect people's right to buy GM-Free food. The proposed contamination will deny that right," says Mr Carapiet.

"Under that vision of coexistence there will be no GE-Free food, there will be no "GM-free" labelling, and there will be no choice."

It is vital that industry and MAF have a management system that is able to ensure total separation of GM products from conventional ones, or agree to not release GM crops.

"First the public were told that nothing is 100% safe. Now the message is that nothing will be 100% GM-Free," says Mr Carapiet.

Industry refuse to accept full liability for their products but want to push them into the market anyway by allowing a degree of contamination in 100% of the food supply.


Contact Jon Carapiet 09 815 3370


February 27, 2003
Anna Randell

A two-year ban on genetically modified crops in Tasmania has, according to the State Government, been extended for five years, in a move welcomed by the Tasmanian Greens but that has drawn criticism from some agricultural sectors. The story says that under the policy, field trials of non-food genetically modified crops including poppies will be allowed to continue. Primary Industries, Water and Environment Minister Bryan Green was cited as saying the five-year extension of the moratorium followed a review of the Government's 2001 Gene Technology Policy, adding, "The Government has adopted a cautious and balanced approach to gene technology in the primary industry sector. Tasmania's reputation for its clean and wholesome foods is much deserved but has been hard-won and nothing should be allowed to threaten it." Opposition primary industries spokesma! n Jeremy Rockliff was quoted as saying the decision was "overly cautious" adding that, "A three-year time frame would certainly have been more appropriate to allow greater flexibility for future opportunities." Serv-Ag managing director and Tasmanian Agricultural Productivity Group chairman Mike Gow was cited as saying he was disappointed by the decision, adding, "This effectively shuts the door on any opportunities in terms of research or extensive crop production that might have occurred." Mr Gow said he would like to see the State Government capitalise on its policy by better marketing Tasmania as GE-free.

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