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

No Charges: Outcome
Of Operation Clover Investigation

Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area.

Following a lengthy and complex investigation, charges are not being laid by Police at this time regarding 8 incidents involving 7 victims and 5 suspects. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

UNICEF Report: NZ Cautioned On "Stagnating" Child Poverty

An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession. More>>

ALSO:

Funding Report: Two Pathways For Transport In Auckland

Commissioned by Auckland Council, the group was asked to investigate two possible pathways for raising $300 million per year ($12 billion over 30 years) to pay for the improvements needed to help fix Auckland’s transport system. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity: Equal Pay Win In Court Of Appeal

CTU: The Court of Appeal has made a historic decision paving the way for a substantial equal pay claim for aged care workers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Finishing Line, And Amazon’s Woes

If the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal wasn’t such a serious matter, this would be pretty funny… More>>

ALSO:

TV3 Video: Three Die On Roads Over Labour Weekend

The official holiday period ended at 6am Tuesday, with three deaths on the roads during the Labour Day weekend. More>>

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news