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Overseas Contamination Revealed

June Deadline For GM Commission Passes As Overseas Contamination Revealed.

The Royal Commission on Genetic Modification have delayed their report due to reach government this Friday as overseas contamination of ourfood, seeds, and prime agricultural land continues to threaten our nation. "The contamination of seeds by GE is now becoming a serious problem, if we do not act fast, our crops could be contaminated resulting in potential permanent damage to New Zealand soils ." said Susie Lees of GE Free NZ, "this may well happen by default before we realise it, bringing huge setbacks for companies, like Zespri, whose agricultural advantage depends on New Zealand being 100% GE Free."

New plantings of seeds from overseas may well contain GE seeds. the Environmental Risk Management Authority spelt out this risk in their submission to the RCI in March. Contaminated imported maize seed was discovered last September, which prompted Marian Hobbs to instigate spotchecks.

"We are uncertain how many consignments of seeds entering the country have actually been tested,"said Susie Lees, "we need to find out who is responsible for testing imported seed and if high standards are being set. What we do not want to happen, is for the government to apologise, in a similar fashion to the British government over the Mad cow disease debacle, after the genie has escaped the bottle."

The publicly funded Royal Commission now aims to report back on July 27th although apparently the report will not be released to the public for 2-3 weeks. This is not acceptable to groups who have been involved with the RCI proceedings for nearly a year now and is far too close to the deadline of the year long moratorium. Eminent scientists gave evidence on the risks at the Royal Commission and now only the 5 ministers directly involved in the application of genetic engineering technologies will be making the decision on New Zealand's genetic future.

Is this democracy? Why will GE not be debated and voted on by our representatives in government?Major multinationals like Monsanto are just waiting for the moratorium to be lifted to continue their unconscionable experiments. An issue this important should not be left to these 5 ministers, but be decided by a public referendum.

"With overseas interests funding some of the most contraversial GE experimentation in the developed world at our Crown Research Institutes and Universities, the people are being fobbed off if they are not allowed proper representation." said Ms Lees. "The public have not given the government any mandate to proceed with this irreversible technology. 93,000 people asked for a Royal Commission, only 2% of the 11,000 who made submissions want GE to go ahead. Can this government really be seen to be acting in the public interest?"

ENDS


For more information contact
Susie Lees
Secretary
GE Free NZ
03 546 7966

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