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Organic Sector GE Rally At Parliament Grounds

Organic Sector GE Rally At Parliament Grounds

16th September 1pm

Today the Soil and Health Association of New Zealand is presenting all Members of Parliament in their morning mail a call on the Government to enshrine GE free production in law and reinstate the moratorium on GE release for another five years.

Representatives from New Zealand's main organic organisations, including Bio-Gro, the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, OrganicFarmNZ and others are joining Soil & Health at a rally at Parliament today. The 62-year-old Soil & Health Association is one of the world's oldest organisations active in the promotion of organic growing and healthy living.

Organics, once a very small part of this country's production, has turned into a rapidly expanding primary production and value-added sector.

"Our livelihoods, natural environment and health are at stake," says Steffan Browning, co-chair of Soil & Health. "Systems adequate to prevent contamination by GE organisms are not in place. Neither are just liability regimes."

Today the Government is considering the NOOM (New Organisms and Other Matters) Bill, the nuts and bolts for the release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment. The proposed legislation will not give organic growers and the wider community the protection recommended by the Royal Commission's findings, according to Soil & Health. Studies recommended by the Commission ahead of GE release have not been completed.

Mr Browning said: "Evidence of the recent BERL report, showing serious effects on New Zealand's markets, appears to have been ignored. As continuing evidence mounts of the significant economic and environmental shortcomings of GE, reinstatement of the moratorium for five years will give New Zealand the opportunity to expand its clean green reputation."

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