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NZ's Exporters Sent Warning by Internatl. Protests

New Zealand's Exporters Sent a Warning by International Protests

New Zealand food manufacturers and primary-producers must protect the integrity of their production-systems and monitor the source of all ingredients if they want to continue to export quality food to the world.

That's the serious economic and global-marketing lesson to be learned from the world-wide day of protest against Genetically Engineered Organisms being held on April 8th.

Events planned for the GMO International Day of Action are featured at http://altercampagne.free.fr/ and are a stark reminder to those who wish to introduce GE products into the New Zealand environment that the world-market is against them.

"There is a serious threat to our economy and our trading reputation from those pushing GE products for environmental release," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

"Currently New Zealand law exposes us to the risk of a GE release being approved and undermining our brand image as well as our unique environment. The international resistance to the spread of GE organisms has not been going away as some may have wished. In fact it is getting stronger as communities learn about the negative impacts of GE from those who have had it foisted on them."

Nor should the pro-GE lobby dismiss the trend as merely the views of their customers or of farmers in the developing world. As part of the day of action independent scientists from around the world will participate in an on-line conference to highlight their concerns.

To mark their opposition to irresponsible and unethical use of GM in Aotearoa New Zealand representatives from Physicians and Scientist for Responsible Genetics ( PSRG -see below) will be contacting leading members of the government, including Prime Minister Helen Clark with up-to-date information about GE.

Other scientists from around the world are also to issue messages to their leaders and the wider community in an attempt to alert them to the real danger that environmental use of GE organisms presents to today's world and future generations.

( See scienists open letter) http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/openletter122105.cfm

The GE debate is back on the world-agenda not least because of the stance taken on TERMINATOR seeds by New Zealand and a couple of other countries at the recent meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity held in Brazil.

Following massive protest including demonstrations outside New Zealand embassies in London and New Delhi, agreement was reached to reject 'case by case' approval of GURTS ( Genetic Use Restriction Technolgies).( See Terminator Seeds feature http://www.tv3.co.nz/News/tabid/67/articleID/5705/Default.aspx )

and http://www.banterminator.org/, http://www.gmwatch.org/

"As long as the door is open for ERMA to approve a GE release, the threat to New Zealand is a real. Failure by MAF to ensure the strictest controls to prevent contamination in seed is also a potential weak-point," says Mr Carapiet.

"The national interest is best served if we re-introduce the moratorium on applications for GE releases and ensure we can deliver against our 'clean, green image' into the future."

"Local government also has a role to play to protect local communities and ratepayers from the costs of "socialised risk" under the HSNO Act. This approach is unacceptable to most people as it effectively leaves the public to cover the costs of unexpected damage from a GE use approved by ERMA."

ENDS

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