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Scoop Feedback: Further To Demilitarising NZ

In This Edition: On Demilitarising New Zealand - GE Field Trials-How Safe Are They?


On Demilitarising New Zealand

(See also… Scoop Feedback: Demilitarising Aotearoa)

Dear Sir,

Thank you for publishing my letter on increasing this country's diplomatic role in international conflicts today (14 November). I feel it is important for me to say something about the "demilitarisation" title you gave it.

I quite understand that interpretation, but would like to stress that I do not have a particular position on, or wish to debate, whether to have a military or not, or details of what kind of military. In my view, extensive debate to and fro on this has issue continually smothered the point that I do wish to insist on, and will debate.

My starting point is something positive that I want to advocate, rather than something I do not want (my emphasis is not to "de-" this or "oppose" that). Very simply, I advocate that New Zealand prioritise peacemaking diplomacy when there are incipient or actual conflicts, and ample resourcing for this.

The present formula of not resourcing, training or expecting our diplomats to do this effectively, while waiting for big powers to put pressure on for a military contribution, emphatically does not work and will not work. It has created ignominious messes starting with the Suez crisis of 1956, and stirred up strong local opposition as well over Vietnam and then the Iraq war. However, our governments do need to be supported to make constructive alternative contributions.

As to any "military" policy as such, I do not particularly wish to enter that debate, but would insist that it be worked out one way or another in the light of priority being given to diplomacy along the lines I propose. I am very happy to take up that debate.

John Gallagher


GE Field Trials-How Safe Are They?

(See also… Marian Hobbs GM Speech)

Even the Minister for the Environment Marian Hobbs seems to be unsure about the safety of GE field trials.

In her speech at a North Shore public meeting last Monday, she talks about 'very strict conditions that ensure that the GMO cannot escape' but just a few sentences later she admits that this might happen in spite of strict safety regulations:

'Any animals involved in field tests, including their offspring, must be held in secure containment and clearly identified so it can be easily identified and retrieved if it escapes.'

If an animal can escape from this so called secure containment, who can ensure that something as small as pollen or a seed can't ? ? ? ? ?

Angelica Garcia Petersen

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