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NZ pursues a GMO export drive?

Soil & Health Association of New Zealand (Est. 1941)

Publishers of ORGANIC NZ

MEDIA
RELEASE For: Immediate Release
Date: 12-3-06

Soil & Health will be looking closely at New Zealand’s position during talks in Brazil, to see if New Zealand’s current government is determined to pursue a GMO export drive, as part of NZ’s economic development.

The New Zealand position taken in Montreal last May against setting significant international agreement for strong liability rules around GMOs, indicates that production of GE organisms in New Zealand labs for export is more important than our clean green trading image, according to Soil & Health’s Steffan Browning.

Having GE research in the lab is one thing, but exporting living Genetically Modified Organisms and then dodging liability against the unknown outcomes and risks of such products is quite different.

In May 2005 at the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety meeting in Montreal, New Zealand and Brazil were the only 2 of 119 countries present to object to labelling provisions, and New Zealand was the only country to block the liability regime that it should have been supporting.

This weeks meeting of Protocol members in Brazil is an opportunity for New Zealand to correct its stance. Anything less is an indication that New Zealand is committed to trading in Genetically Modified Organisms.

New Zealand’s trading future is better served by developing our reputation through improvements in sustainability and value adding, through marketing ecologically friendly produced goods such as those certified organic.

Developing a range of marketable sustainable production strategies, that can be used throughout New Zealand primary production, will not only ensure economic sustainability but also correct much of the soil and water degradation that blights our environment.

New Zealand primary producers deserve support to get better farm gate prices and get out of the current commodity price traps. Getting an international reputation of being pro GE is not going to help in the least.

New Zealand’s producers will have every justification to demand GE out of the labs too, if producers’ market reputation is put at risk by a continued careless approach to labelling, liability and GE contamination by our negotiators overseas, according to Soil & Health.

ENDS

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