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Government in Perilous Denial of GE Facts

Government in Perilous Denial of GE Facts

Auckland, Thursday, 17 April, 2003: Despite efforts to disguise it, two government reports on GE released today expose the degree to which the Government is blundering towards what could be an economic and agricultural disaster in allowing the contamination of New Zealand’s environment with GE from October this year.

The reports show the Government’s perilous denial of two GE facts:
1) Co-existence of GE and conventional crops is impossible because GE spread in the agricultural environment is inevitable due to the nature of seed and pollen drift and human fallibility.
2) The world’s consumers don’t want GE foods.

Combined, these make GE release obviously a bad idea. Yet they are hidden and twisted within government reports to conclude GE release should occur.

“Whilst MAF acknowledges that pollen movement can only be ‘minimised’ not ‘ruled out completely’ it has clearly taken on the task of doing Monsanto’s dirty work by lobbying for acceptance of GE contamination in conventional crops,” said Greenpeace GE Campaigner Steve Abel.

“The economic survey showing that up to 30% of foreign customers would ‘cease purchasing NZ commodities or holidays if NZ released GMO’s’ should be ringing major alarm bells in Wellington,” said Abel. “No one would disagree that such a loss of custom would have a devastating impact on New Zealand’s economy.”

“Claims that such losses could be countered by productivity increases are entirely hypothetical, whereas consumer and market rejection of GE food is a fact.”

“What’s more, foods containing GE ingredients are one of the most widely rejected product groups ever.”

“What is the value of increasing productivity of something the world doesn’t want?”

“MAF also proposes a complex array of regulations and transport and storage mechanisms to ‘minimise’ cross contamination. This shows a stunning ignorance of human fallibility and natural processes. Put simply – you can’t control the wind and people make mistakes.”

“Read in combination with the mass of information available, the reports reveal that GE is poison to our billion dollar Clean Green status and the only possible way to stop GE contamination is to keep GE in the lab,” concluded Abel.

For more information, please contact:

* Steve Abel, Greenpeace NZ GE Campaigner: 021 565 175

* Dean Baigent-Mercer, Greenpeace NZ Communications Officer: 021 790 817

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