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Labour Will Ruin NZ's 'Clean Green' Image

26 June 2005

Labour Will Ruin NZ's 'Clean Green' Image

GE Free NZ congratulate the Green party for their committment to keeping our agriculture and environment GE- Free which will guarantee our international reputation and exports for decades to come.

But there are growing fears that Labour party policy will undermine New Zealand's "Clean Green" Brand unless they too recognise the huge public support for environmental sustainabilty as part of New Zealand's future.

Recent moves by New Zealand representatives to block agreement on regulation of GM at international meetings have seen New Zealand accused of being there to further the interests of overseas countries. In Montreal international delegates held up signs saying "Shame on New Zealand" for blocking consensus on tracking and labelling live GE organisms.

Links to biotechnology investors in Iowa have been suggested as one of the reasons behind New Zealands's astonishing blocking tactics at the recent Cartegna Protocol Conference in Canada.

"There is grass-roots support throughout the community and within Labour that GE should not be allowed to threaten our the clean-green image. But the government burecaucracy is ignoring that, and are putting our brand reputation at risk," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

It is time to re-think the approach being taken to science by government to ensure the broader values of society are reflected. Over the last few days we have heard about the dismal state that Scientific Institutions are in, where scientists are not even able to assure their children that science is a viable career option.

The CRI model forced the independent institutions to build private public partnerships with biotechnology as their main business. In the case of Ag Research much funding went into developing Biotechnology with PPL. However when PPL went into bankcruptcy, after the failure of their biotech sheep, they also pulled funding from AgResearch, leaving them with a severe cash crisis.

It is a positive move that the Green Party are eschewing privatisation and bulkfunding of Institutions. Their policies stop the bleeding cuts and competition that cause a drag on development of ideas, and helps redirect funding into developing science on a sustainable, and ecologically sound basis.

"GE Free NZ are calling on government to commit to a science policy that enhances our clean-green reputation and makes it more of a reality, not less of a reality as their policies currently threaten to do," says Jon Carapiet.

Part of the investment in science must be to protect our GE Free, organic and conventional production systems from degredation and contamination.

It is wrong for the New Zealand government to be undermining our own investment is bio-security by blocking consensus for best-practice bio-security internationally.

ENDS

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