Press Release: 04 July 2003
New Zealanders remain at risk from some of the world’s most deadly toxins by weak Government legislation.
Last night the government took its first step towards ratifying the Stockholm Convention which is designed to protect human health and the environment from Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), by passing the Hazardous Substances and New Organism Amendment Bill. However, the bill fails to address one of the most deadly toxins known to humans – Dioxins.
Dioxins, a core part of the Convention, are known to be highly carcinogenic and cause serious birth defects. While the amendment identifies dioxins as an important part of the Stockholm Convention the government has sidelined it for action by stating it is outside of the bills remit.
Greenpeace’s toxics campaigner, Carmen Gravatt said: “The government has set its sights low and showed it lacks real commitment to eliminating these poisons. A piece of dioxin the size of a grain of rice is equal to “allowable” yearly dose for a quarter of New Zealand’s population.
“Dioxins are created in New Zealand through many sources from back yard burning to incinerators like the one at Auckland International Airport. Unless these are comprehensively dealt with the government is failing to protect our health and the environment.”
Ms Gravatt added: “Greenpeace has welcomed the Stockholm Convention, but instead of the government endorsing it they have diluted it and washed its hands on the key issue. The government must commit to the ultimate aim of eliminating dioxins and clean up its act.”