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NZ Plays Spoiler Role Over GE Liability

1 June 2005

NZ Plays Spoiler Role Over GE Liability

The Labour Party and Minister Marian Hobbs appear to have briefly rediscoverd "socialism" - in allowing New Zealand delegates at international conference to play a "spoiler " role in the debate on GE liabilty.

The NZ delegates push to effectively "socialise" risk of GE organisms on the public of other countries, ( just as the HSNO Act does here), was reportedly met with shocked laughter at the Montreal conference to discuss liabilty under the Cartegna Protocol.

Fears that New Zealand had signed up to the protocol to deliberately play a destructive role on behalf of vested interests seeking to avoid liability, appear to be well-founded. "It is sad that instead of working with the people of other countries New Zealand has now become merely a proxy for big business wanting to socialise risk as a susbsidy for industry," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

The nuclear industry has been subsidised for decades by the public and now the New Zealand government is advocating to do the same with GE and biotechnology. "Socialised risk" may be the only remaining facet of the Labour Party's socialist roots but it threatens the wellbeing of our economy. We are reliant on our reputation for supplying clean, GE-free foods to the world, but under the government's plans liabilty for damage to that reputation will not be placed squarely on those who have caused it.

The proposed 'socialised' risk' approach is a betrayal of the New Zealand public and a deliberate attempt to ignore the lessons from the last fifty years that have shown the downside and hidden costs of chemicals and nuclear technology.

GE Free NZ are calling for the Government to immediately change their policy on this issue or for the Minister to resign. What part of 'learning from History and past mistakes' does the Minister not understand?

ENDS

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