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Government ''We Are Ready For GE'' Made Farce

Government ''We Are Ready For GE'' Made Farce By Japanese Bread Incident

Auckland, Sunday 26 October, 2003: “The latest GE bread to Japan contamination incident makes a total farce of government claims that New Zealand is ready for lifting the GE moratorium,” said Greenpeace GE spokesperson Steve Abel today.

“Government haven’t even sorted out the management or implications of imported GE organisms such as corn seed and enzymes in our food and exports, yet they say we are ready to grow GE crops in New Zealand fields.”

“This ‘she’ll-be-right’ GE attitude has become a total joke that could already be costing New Zealand millions,” said Abel.

What does the shutting of 120 Subway stores in Tokyo because of GE do to New Zealand’s reputation in Japan?

Who can quantify the cost to New Zealand’s export brand and who is liable for that cost?

“In fact Yarrows are probably a victim of weak import laws,” Says Abel.

Currently New Zealand has no traceability requirement of non-viable GE foodstuffs imported into New Zealand. GE soy feed is also imported without any labelling or documentation required so producers may not even know that they are using GE inputs in their production. This places New Zealand producers and exporters a significant step behind Europe where all GE organism derived imports must now be documented and traced.

Greenpeace says responsibility for this incident probably belongs squarely at the feet of government. “Ultimately the health, environment and international reputation of New Zealand is the responsibility of the Prime Minister. Clark’s government must be held liable for any cost or harm caused by poor laws that allow unlabelled GE imports and by release of GE into New Zealand’s fields and food chain.”

“This GE bread incident again highlights in glaring light just how sensitive markets are to the technology and for government to continue to deny that GE is bad for brand New Zealand in the face of this latest incident is ridiculous.”

“The fact the minister (Hobbs) doesn’t even know who's jurisdiction this GE enzyme comes under shows just how unprepared the government are for allowing GE release in our land – and that is exactly why the GE moratorium should be kept in place,” concluded Abel.

For further information contact Greenpeace Campaigner Steve Abel – 021 565 175; Greenpeace Communications Officer Suzette Jackson – 021 577 556.

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