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"GM seeds planted to save jobs"

"Corngate Commission told: "GM" seeds planted to save jobs"

The Parliamentary Select committee investigating the Corngate affair has been told that the government may have justified proceeding with the planting of suspected GE contaminated corn in order to save jobs that might have been lost if the planting had been delayed or crops had been destroyed.

The claim is made in a written a submisson to the committee from GE-Free NZ in food and environment, citing public statements made by ministers long before the huge media interest that erupted during the election.

The line of the government and their regulatory agencies was that the contamination was caused by false positives, unfortunately this can no longer be confirmed as there is apparently no seed left to test.

GE Free New Zealand repeatedly warned government departments of the risk of contamination from GE corn prior to the contamination but their concerns were ignored. Details about possible contamination were omitted in responses to GE Free New Zealand's requests for information under the Official Information Act regarding the status of maize and sweetcorn crops in early 2001.

At the time there were concerns that tolerance limits would be instigated and lobbying by pharmaceutical company Novartis may have influenced government to implement these changes despite the moratorium. Novartis supply drugs to Pharmac that are subsidised by government, a deal struck in December last year allowed them to supply nearly a dozen drugs to NZ patients.

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