Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Greenpeace challenges Govt's take on Terminator

Greenpeace challenges NZ Government's take on Terminator policy

Auckland 23 March 2006 -- Greenpeace today questioned the Government's take on what its policy on Terminator technology actually means.

The sterile seed technology is the central point in discussions at an international meeting in Brazil today, and New Zealand, with Canada and Australia, is again under the international spotlight for supporting an anti-environmental position.

"The Government has gotten half way on its position by recognising the dangers this technology poses to 1.4 billion of the world's poorest people who depend on saved seed for survival. But it doesn't understand the dangers inherent in opening up the present de-facto moratorium (1) to a "case by case" basis," said Cindy Baxter, Greenpeace New Zealand's Campaign Manager.

She said the Government was totally confusing scientific arguments with what was essentially a social and development issue. Such a position goes against New Zealand's goals of poverty elimination and sustainable development.

"Field trials will not determine the acceptability of this sterile seed technology. If it works 100% then it will be a threat to the 1.4 billion people around the world who rely on saved seed for next year's crop. If it doesn't work and it's not 100% sterile, then it's a contamination threat which, once released into the environment, cannot be stopped."

Possums? Scientific nonsense

Greenpeace said that the Environment Minister David Benson-Pope had used an unfortunate example to illustrate his [incorrect] point that the technology in question could be used in the future – for example to eradicate possums.

"This statement illustrates a fundamental lack of understanding of basic scientific principles. This is a technology developed for crops, not animals. This ridiculous statement has had scientists in Brazil, New Zealand - and beyond - howling with laughter," said Baxter.

"Moreover, the prospect of New Zealand tampering with marsupial genes would send the Australian Government into a frenzy of biosecurity regulation against New Zealand."

"Possums might be a pest in New Zealand, but to our closest neighbours they are a protected species," concluded Baxter.

Industry the problem

The final argument against New Zealand's position is that the multinational agricultural industry cannot be trusted – and New Zealand should already be aware of this.

Without a global regime, this industry is likely to target countries with weak legislation to set up Terminator crop trials – or do it illegally. Two recent examples:

• Seed companies already have a record of deliberately contaminating crops and working outside government regulations. Only this week, biotech multinational Syngenta was fined around $700,000 by the Brazilian Government for conducting illegal field trials of GE soy in a buffer zone around the Iguacu Falls World Heritage Site in Brazil. The field trials were discovered by Greenpeace and reported to the Brazilian Government.

• Already, such technologies are ready to apply the "case by case" basis that NZ is talking about. Peruvian farmers are very concerned about Syngenta's patent (US Patent 6,700,039) because it describes a GURTS technology that could be used to prevent the sprouting of potatoes, unless they are treated with chemicals supplied by the patent owner. Local farmers would be prevented from saving and reusing terminator type seeds and storage organs such as potato tubers, thus increasing corporate control over the global food system. Indigenous people fear that it would destroy the sharing of seeds, a centuries-old tradition, and with it their cultural and social way of life. Potatoes originate in Peru.

ENDS

(1) In 2000 the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) recommended that governments not field-test or commercialise genetic seed sterilisation technologies – thus creating a de-facto international moratorium.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Departure Speech: Governor-General’s State Farewell Luncheon

"...Unfortunately I was unable to get to the Antarctic, the Chatham Islands and the Kermadecs. A dicky heart thwarted our travel to the Antarctic; and even though I volunteered to parachute into the Kermadecs to join the Young Blake expedition, time, commitments and officials frustrated my plans to visit the Kermadecs and Chathams." More>>

ALSO:

New Research: Most Homeless People Working Or Studying

“The cost of housing has been rising without corresponding increases in income, whilst the number of state houses per capita has been in decline. Many low-income people are missing out on housing, whether we recognise them as ‘homeless’ or not. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Traynor: New Offender Info Sharing Plan

“This Bill delivers on that step-change by moving away from name-based records held by individual agencies to a shared, anchor identity based on unalterable information, such as fingerprints and facial recognition. It also gives agencies access to the drivers’ licence photo database and birth, death and marriages information." More>>

  • NZ Law Foundation - New $2M fund for research on information challenges
  • Littoral: New Ship To Deliver Enhanced Naval Capability

    Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government has approved a Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Defence Force recommendation to request tenders for a new naval ship to support littoral operations. More>>

    July:

    After King's Labour Snub: Māori Party And Kiingitanga To Work Together

    Māori Party Co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox met with Kiingitanga representatives in Wellington yesterday to discuss working together on key issues for the betterment of Māori. More>>

    ALSO:

    Waitangi Claim On Rehabilitation: The 'Justus' System For Māori Not Good Enough

    Closing statements at the Waitangi Tribunal case against Corrections called for immediate steps and a comprehensive review to address the high rate of Māori reoffending. More>>

    ALSO:

    Advice: PM Sets Rules For Ministers' Treatment Of Public Servants

    Prime Minister John Key has laid down the law about the way ministers and public servants should interact, saying ministers may not always like the advice they receive, but they must listen to it carefully, respectfully and professionally. More>>

    Gordon Campbell: On The Funding Changes In Special Needs Education, And Uber

    The plan to strip out the educational support for older “special needs” children in order to meet the existing shortfall in funding for special needs in early childhood education is so miserly and relentlessly stupid as to defy belief… More>>

    SPECIAL EDUCATION (& More):

    Online Learning Plans:

    Get More From Scoop

     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Politics
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news