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ERMA email to Life Sciences Network concerns

www.gefree.org.nz

Press Release 16.10.01

Hort Research agrees to mitigate perceived risk to the soil environment.
ERMA email to pro GE lobby Life Sciences Network shows lack of transparency.

There has been some public concern expressed over the possible risk to the environment from the recently completed GE tamarillo trial, which was conducted at the HortResearch Research Centre, Kerikeri between January 1998 and January 2001.

HortResearch considers that the GE tamarillo trial site has never, and still does not present any ongoing risk. GE Free NZ does not agree.

HortResearch is nevertheless sensitive to public perception and has now offered to temporarily cover and fumigate the site to mitigate any perceived risk to the soil environment. GE Free Northland and GE Free NZ have accepted this offer and consider it to be the best practical option in the circumstances.

However, according to the New Zealand Herald’s front page story the head of the Environmental Risk Management Authority, Dr Bas Walker, in an e-mail to the chairman of the pro-GE lobby Life Sciences Network, said the sterilisation could be misinterpreted and had been agreed to only to "appease/reassure" the New Zealand public.

Yet the Royal Commission, itself, said public concern over this trial was justified (see RCI report P123 Para 19) It is presumptive for ERMA to call it an appeasement when ERMA themselves, admit that they have little research on HGT, which is the prime issue for all field trials, as the Royal Commission has warned.

“An attempt to prevent irreversible contamination should be ERMAs role and not left up to the public to demand it,” said Susie Lees from GE Free NZ, “ their processes are disappointedly lacking in transparency and scientific rigour. It is highly inappropriate for ERMA to be engaging in private correspondence with Life Sciences Network, who have then leaked it to the media in what seems to be an attempt to undermine legitimate biosecurity measures.”

For more info.
Susie Lees 03 546 7966
Pat Clark 09 433 5523

GE Free New Zealand
In Food And Environment (RAGE) Inc.
PO Box 693, Nelson Tel 03 548 6608 Fax 03 546 5036
gefree@ts.co.nz

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