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Greens Call For Wgtn To Become GE Free

Green candidate calls for Council to declare GE Free Zone

Green Party candidate for Rongotai Rich Wernham and Ohairu Belmont candidate Caron Zillwood today wrote the Mayor and Councillors of Wellington City Council calling on council to declare themselves a GE-(Genetic Engineering) Free Zone.

The letter calls on council to
1. Declare the city/district a Genetic Engineering Free Zone
2. Ensure that council publications and marketing material reflect this policy and explain the reasons for it.
3. Act to ensure that genetically engineered foods are not provided at any council function.
4. Ensure that council does not plant or grow any transgenic plants.

Mr Wernham said the aim of the GE Free Zone proposal is to support the public’s desire to keep food free of unwanted and potentially unsafe genetically engineered contaminants.

“I urge the council to show leadership on the GE issue, as they have in the past by declaring Nuclear-Free Zones.” said Mr Wernham.

Councils can also promote their cities as GE free by
 encouraging their food and visitor industries and businesses to refrain from using genetically modified organisms.
 Encourage growers and farmers to support it and promote their products as GE free, and where within its powers, provide incentives for non-GE and pro-organic agriculture.
 Provide at local libraries information and displays to the children and the general public pertinent to the GE Free Zone.

Already, several local bodies - including Nelson, Christchurch, Devonport and Waiheke Island - are considering or have already declared themselves GE free and others

The letter follows petitions launched last week by the Green Party throughout the Wellington region. Over 390 signatures were collected in the first week alone calling for councils to declare GE Free Zones.

Letter attached below.

ENDS


For further information contact David Weinstein, Wellington Green Campaign Co-ordinator 04 233 0003 or 025 892 665

Rich Wernham, Rongotai Green Party candidate 383 9503
Caron Zillwood, Ohairu Belmont Green Party candidate 472 8689

To His Worship the Mayor
and all Councillors
of Wellington City Council

Proposal for Council to Declare a Genetically Engineering (GE)-Free
Zone

Many people in the community are gravely concerned about the use of new technology that alters the genetic structure of the foods we eat. Community concerns are not only on scientific but also on philosophical, ethical, cultural, spiritual, environmental and health grounds. The
public has a right to a safe food supply and protection of our environment.

The Green Party hears of this concern on a daily basis and we feel obliged to bring it to the attention of those who have the ability to address the issue in a practical way.

Local government is well placed to reflect the grass roots concerns of the community and can show important leadership on this national problem. This proposal for council to proclaim a GE-Free Zone is in the tradition of declarations by councils as Nuclear-Free Zones. By your example, you can help educate people and demonstrate your concern for everyone's welfare.

Consequently, we seek an opportunity to address your full council and to answer the questions councillors may have. We anticipate that this would take about 15 minutes.

We would like to suggest to you that council adopt the following motions:

1. That council declares its city/district to be a Genetic Engineering Free Zone
2. That council publications and marketing material reflect this policy and explain the reasons for it.
3. That genetically engineered foods not be provided at any council function.
4. That council does not plant or grow any transgenic plants.

The Green Party is making this request to councils throughout New Zealand.

Should there be some uniformity in the motions they carry, local Government will be sending a powerful message to central government. We look forward to your response.

This proposal is presented by the Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand on behalf of many individuals in the Wellington City area.


Rich Wernham, Green Party Rongotai Candidate
Caron Zillwood, Green Party Ohairu/Belmont Candidate

submitted this 19th day of November 1999

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