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Australia Threatens Sanctions Over NZ Biosecurity

Australia Threatens Sanctions Over NZ Biosecurity Measures

GE free NZ
press Release


New Zealand's future is at risk as a result of Australia's threats of sanctions over biosecurity measures designed to prevent new pests gaining a foothold here.

A report in Farmers Weekly says that NZ Government ministers have admitted Australia had threatened New Zealand with punitive sanctions if steps were taken to prevent inadvertent imports of glyphosate-resistant ryegrass as contamination in grain.

The letter signed by Jim Sutton's press secretary said that in rejecting the testing the Australians pointed out there were more weed seeds in grain imports from New Zealand, and said that "no country in the world has measures for Roundup-resistant plant seeds. If we took measures against them these measures would be unfair (aimed only at one country) and unprecedented (nowhere else in the world).They (the Australians) proposed punitive measures on New Zealand products in response".

"The measures they proposed for our exports to Australia were potentially disastrous for our industry here and so further steps were not taken," the Minister's letter is reported to have stated.

"If this kind of blackmail is allowed it will make a shambles of our bio-security standards," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

It is a cause of great concern that growers were told some years ago that the biosecurity measures were being put in place but were grossly misled.

It is also damaging to international relations that New Zealand representatives have betrayed our national interests by playing a 'spoiler' role at the recent Conference on the Cartegna Protocols and blocked moves for an international system of similar protections around GMO's.

"It makes it hard for New Zealand to defend it's own biosecurity needs when we are trying to block other countries from doing so," says Jon Carapiet. "Basically this shows what a mess is being made of balancing New Zealand's biosecurity and trade interests."

ENDS

REFERENCES contact details: NZ FARMERS WEEKLY 0 800 85 25 80 www.farmersweekly.co.nz letters to editor:

HERE & HERE

MAF failure to act on ryegrass threat exposed by Annette Scott

Categories: Lead Story;Animal Health; Publication: NZ Farmers Weekly; Date: 2031-05-20

NOT HAPPY: Grain growers are surprised and disappointed MAF did not stop herbicide-resistant ryegrass entering the country when it was notified of the biosecurity threat in 2003, Grain Council chairman Hugh Ritchie says.

Agriculture leaders have back-tracked over a biosecurity threat from herbicide-resistant ryegrass which could decimate sectors of New Zealand's agriculture industry. Grain growers are angered by the discovery the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is allowing Roundup-resistant ryegrass into the country.


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