Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More
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.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

"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

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Perils Of Joining AUKUS Pillar Two


The lure for New Zealand to join the AUKUS military alliance is that membership of only its “second pillar” will still (supposedly) give us access to state of the art military technologies. As top US official Kurt Campbell said during his visit to Wellington a year ago:
...We've been gratified by how many countries want to join with us to work with cutting-edge technologies like in the cyber arena, hypersonics, you can go down a long list and it's great to hear that New Zealand is interested...
More


 
 

Government: Backs Police To Crackdown On Gangs
The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell. “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase... More


Government: Retiring Chief Of Navy Thanked For His Service

Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More


Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels


 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.