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GE Free NZ: Backing for Parliament Vigil

GE Free New Zealand
www.gefree.org.nz

GE Free New Zealand PRESS RELEASE –29.10.03

Backing for Parliament Vigil: National interest in GE-Free production must be defended.

The New Zealanders holding a vigil at parliament in protest at the government's failure to extend the moratorium on GE release have the backing of the nation.

Their vigil is symbolic of the national concern that GE-Free production must be preserved in Aotearoa New Zealand, and concern that the government's system of regulation is deeply flawed.

The recent reports of GE ingredients sold in NZ- bread without labelling reveals the food-regulatory system is not up to scratch - denying people the right to choose and threatening our export reputation.

The Otago University Business School Report on "Trust and Brand Image" shows that maintaining the highest standards of segregation, hygiene, testing and labelling is a vital component of New Zealand's brand-image overseas.

"This government is failing to protect that image and our reputation, as recent incidents have shown. Though they claim a zero-threshold for GE contamination, the labour government is betraying the national interest if they fail to hold ERMA accountable to that standard," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

The public have lost confidence in ERMA and that's why a " People's Moratorium" is needed to assist the authorities in protecting the national interest and in the interests of democracy.

The forthcoming assessment of the GE onions application will be a final test to see if ERMA have addressed the changes identified in the recent independent review of the organisation, and are to take seriously their responsibilities under the law to the Precautionary Principle.

The fact that hundreds of submitters on the GE onions trial have been cut out of the process because ERMA refused to hold hearings outside Christchurch is revealing. If the public are denied the right to participate, as they are now, anything that remains of ERMA's credibility and legitimacy will be lost.

Today’s news that the government are using public money to support GE applications to ERMA will also be met with contempt by the New Zealand community who are effectively being cut out of any say on GE in this country.

The protection of GE-free food and environments is a basic human right and that is why both the government's and the people's moratorium can be considered as having equal standing.

ENDS

Contact Jon Carapiet

09 815 3370


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