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Green Party Offers Organic Olive Branch

New Federated Farmers' leadership might better deal with issues such as organic farming and genetic engineering, according to Green Party Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street.

Mr Ewen-Street has been in conflict with former Federated Farmers president Malcolm Bailey over both issues.

"I congratulate the new president, Alistair Polson, and I'm now hoping for a positive working relationship with his organisation," Mr Ewen-Street said in a statement.

Mr Polson gained the presidency at last weekend's Federated Farmers annual conference. Mr Ewen-Street said he hoped the change of leadership would open the way for constructive dialogue over the issues of genetic engineering and the future of organic farming.

"Malcolm Bailey was very pro-genetic engineering and blanketly promoted and encouraged the use of this technology in New Zealand. We are hoping for a more considered approach from Mr Polson which might more appropriately represent New Zealand farmers," Mr Ewen-Street said.

"New Zealand is at a cross road and we must very soon decide which path we take - an organic nation with safe food and healthy people or a genetic engineering nation with all the risks and unknowns that go with that," he said.

"Genetic engineering could possibly ruin farming in New Zealand whereas organics can only increase the prices that farmers receive for their exports.

"The Green Party would like to congratulate Mr Polson on his new position and look forward to working with him in the interests of farmers and all New Zealanders."


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