Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Preserving opportunities - but closing off options

30 July 2001

"Preserving opportunities" - but closing off options

Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today that the Royal Commission recommendations would close off all New Zealand's future options other than GE - if they are adopted by Government.

"Despite all their nice words about keeping New Zealand's options open, the Commission has recommended a faster path to the field release of GE crops than we had before - destroying our current market advantage of guaranteed GE-Free exports.

"The Commission's proposal for a category of release with conditions called 'contained release' will allow many concerns to be overridden, without offering any real safeguards for the environment. The industry has been agitating for this category for several years.

"It suggests that once released, GE crops will stay where you put them. We all know this is nonsense.

Short-term vs long-term

Ms Fitzsimons said the report lacked long-term vision and leadership, and focussed on what the Commission perceived as short-term economic benefits of adopting GE instead of dealing with the long-term risks.

"While the report recognises that the technology is unpredictable and risky, the Commission then shows an incredible faith in the technology, assuming that it will eventually become safe.

Ms Fitzsimons said the Royal Commission has assumed an economic advantage exists for GE exports, although there is no evidence for this, and has attached little economic importance to our growing organics industry, worth over $110 million by the end of this year, or to our clean green image which benefits all food exporters.

"The Commission has fallen into the fear trap, and has accepted the argument that New Zealand has to embrace this newest technology or we will be left behind economically, despite the fact that we are a primary producer and that almost all our markets are demanding GE-Free food."

Ms Fitzsimons said the lesson learnt in the last century with technologies such as DDT, nuclear power, CFC's and fossil fuels is that harm to people and the environment can take decades to surface.

(Continued) GE and organics

"The report states that GE and organics can co-exist, even though the whole organics industry told the Commission this was impossible, and organic producers in the US have had to admit recently that their produce is contaminated with GE.

"The Commission also recommended the use of terminator-type technology and buffer zones to protect organics and conventional agriculture from genetic pollution.

"We know that buffer zones don't work. Terminator technology, which makes seeds sterile, has been roundly rejected in the rest of the world because of its ethical and economic implications - especially for farmers.

Where to now?

Ms Fitzsimons said the report chickened out on the hard questions.

"The Commission passed the buck on ethical issues to the Toi te Taiao, the new Bioethics Council. It's also passed the buck on deciding whether to go ahead with the first commercial release of GE crops to the Minister for the Environment.

"The Commission has not directly addressed the Treaty of Waitangi obligations of the Crown in relation to GE."

"I predict the first application for commercial release will spark an unprecedented number of submissions from the public.

"The fight is not over - it will be up to the Government now to decide whether New Zealand should build on its current GE-Free status, or buy into the fear mentality.

"I hope they will show the kind of leadership that they did on the nuclear issue, and choose a clean, green future over a risky and uncertain future in GE."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Raising Corporate Taxes Has Become A Hot New Political Cause

Surprisingly, “raising taxes” has become a very fashionable political idea in 2021. That’s right. After decades of being seen (at best) as a necessary evil, higher corporate taxes are now being treated as the Great Good Thing that will revive the US economy, re-distribute wealth productively, help to build neglected and decaying public infrastructure, fund public health, address social inequality, restore a sense of community and generally make everyone feel better about the society in which they live... More>>

 

Government: Delivers Next Phase Of Climate Action

The Government is delivering on a key election commitment to tackle climate change, by banning new low and medium temperature coal-fired boilers and partnering with the private sector to help it transition away from fossil fuels. This is the first ... More>>

Government: Independent Experts To Advise On Post-Vaccination Future

The Government is acting to ensure decisions on responding to the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic are informed by the best available scientific evidence and strategic public health advice. “New Zealand has worked towards an elimination ... More>>

Travel: Trans-Tasman Bubble To Start 19 April

New Zealand’s successful management of COVID means quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia will start on Monday 19 April, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris ... More>>

ALSO:


Health: Drug-Testing Law To Be Made Permanent

Interim legislation that is already proving to keep people safer from drugs will be made permanent, Health Minister Andrew Little says. More>>

World Travel: New Zealand Temporarily Suspending Travel From India - PM Jacinda Ardern

Travel into New Zealand from India - including for New Zealand citizens and residents - is being temporarily suspended because of high numbers of Covid-19 cases. More>>

Finance: Crown Accounts Again Better Than Forecast

Hon Grant Robertson Minister of Finance The economic recovery from COVID-19 continues to be reflected in the Government’s books, which are again better than expected. The Crown accounts for the eight months to the end of February 2021 showed both OBEGAL ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels