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GM Menagerie Puts Reputation At Risk

Genetically Modified Menagerie Puts Reputation At Risk


Thursday, October 30 , 2008


Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) has lodged a submission to the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) opposing AgResearch's application to introduce a range of genetically modified animals, saying that it would undermine ERMA's authority and risks New Zealand's 'clean green' international reputation.

OANZ Chief Executive Officer, Dr Jon Tanner, also criticized AgResearch's applications as seeking unrestricted time limits for a number of farms around the country to raise a genetically modified menagerie.

"This application is so broad that it provides no oversight on what kinds of animals would be raised where or when - undermining the transparency, accountability and independence that Kiwis demand from ERMA", Dr Tanner said.

"The inter-governmental International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development report from April 2008 identifies that genetic modification globally is not resulting in the productivity gains which scientists predicted would be possible. This report is endorsed by many of New Zealand's major trading partner governments, particularly in Europe.

"Our international trade and tourism relies on New Zealand's reputation as responsible environmental stewards. ERMA is being asked to risk this on the basis of phantom productivity gains and the vague promise of potential pharmaceuticals - at least some of which AgResearch's application admits could be made without genetic modification.

"The future of farming lies in high-value premium productions - including certified organics - rather than 'lowest common denominator' genetically modified products which are expensive, risky and controversial to both develop and bring to market.

"By turning down genetic modification field trials, New Zealand stands to gain a competitive advantage over other countries which have already forfeited their food chain to GM contamination.

"New Zealand is at a crossroads between championing sustainable agriculture - which provides premium prices, ensures the integrity of our food chain and builds on our international environmental reputation - and continuing the 'race to the bottom' of farmers working ever-harder to produce standard commodities", Dr Tanner said.

The submission is available from OANZ's website - www.oanz.org.nz - or by emailing info@oanz.org.nz.

ENDS

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