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


New GE Onions Trial A Waste of Resources


Media Release

Soil & Health Association of New Zealand
(Est. 1941)
Publishers of ORGANIC NZ
11 April 2008
New GE Onions Trial A Waste of Resources.
Crop & Food's application for a new, riskier field trial of genetically engineered (GE) onions, plus shallots, spring onions, garlic and leeks is a waste of resources and expertise and will receive widespread public opposition, according to the Soil & Health Association of NZ.
"Rather than continuing down the GE path, which is unwanted by consumers and export markets, Soil and Health would rather see research and trials into organic growing methods," said spokesman Steffan Browning.
"The need of keeping the new GE trial's site secret is understandable, considering the level of anger in the community at GE field trials and at the poor compliance of consent conditions."
Crown research institute Crop & Food is applying for a 2.5 ha GE field trial in Canterbury using a wide range of genetic constructs in allium plants (onion, garlic leek). It intends operating in much less than international accepted standards for buffer zones of 1000 metres from possible non-GE onion growers. Crop & Food has previously trialled GE onions in a 400 sq metre plot with some difficulty.
Crop and Food Research now wants to plant onion seed directly in the ground and allow some onion plants to flower in the field in order to produce seed. The flowering onions would be caged in an attempt to prevent insects carrying pollen to non-GM onions outside the site.
"This field trial is too risky and must not go ahead. GE field trial operators have consistently failed to meet consent conditions, and the likelihood of human failure combined with climate and animal interference means that caged or otherwise, letting GE plants flower in the New Zealand environment is too risky. The community is unlikely to allow the trial to proceed," said Mr Browning.
"The Environmental Risk Management Authority's (ERMA) negligence to insist on testing for adverse effects at field trials means that possible full commercial release might happen in the future without those tests having occurred. The submission process is a sham making submissions by the community practically pointless."
"GE field test auditing and compliance enforcement by MAF Biosecurity NZ (MAF-BNZ) has also been proven to be poor as shown by the Scion GE tree field test. Scion GE trees still remain unpruned correctly risking GE pollen release."
"Unless drastically improved, these gaps in care and enforcement are likely to be filled by the community."
"There have not been adequate studies of known and potential adverse effects at the last Crop & Food GE onion field test site. This new trial has even more risks including cross contamination to other growers by proposing that some GE plants can set flowers for seed. Sowing small GE seeds directly in the ground also adds further risk of contamination."
"Organic and conventional non-GE growers and gardeners must be able to have confidence in government agencies ability to protect them from GE contamination. Applications such as this and AgResearch's intended menagerie of GE animals application makes a mockery of New Zealand's clean green GE Free 100% Pure market branding, and threatens consumer confidence for the future."
"CRIs Crop & Food, AgResearch and Scion all make significant and valuable non-GE research and developments, but their GE portfolios bring them into disrepute."
"Soil & Health suggests that CRIs join the drive to genuine sustainability and focus on clean progressive research and development. Stop wasting taxpayers' money and give clean producers their best opportunities."
Soil & Health is opposed to all GE field tests and has a vision of an Organic 2020.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Another Leader Exiting: Statement From Peter Dunne

I have concluded, based on recent polling, and other soundings I have been taking over the last few weeks, that, the volatility and uncertainty notwithstanding, there is now a mood amongst Ōhāriu voters for a change of MP, which is unlikely to alter...

“I have therefore decided that it is time for me to stand aside, so the people of Ōhāriu can elect a new electorate MP. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election