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March for GE-free NZ creates unstoppable momentum

2 September 2001

March for GE-free New Zealand creates unstoppable momentum

Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today said the 10,000 people who marched in the rain in Auckland yesterday for a GE-free future have created an unstoppable movement.

Ms Fitzsimons said the issue was now clearly a mainstream concern which would not go away.

"Unlike many demonstrations, this march was not a negative protest, but a positive celebration of our unique GE-free status and a demonstration of the determination of many New Zealanders to keep it this way."

Ms Fitzsimons said such a strong statement by the people demanded a bold response from the Government.

"The 10,000 people who marched in Auckland yesterday - and many times more across the country - will not be content with reassuring noises or compromises. The people are demanding a GE-free environment and they will not be satisfied with anything less.

"This is a movement that has recognised the incredibly rare opportunity that New Zealand faces and it is demanding that we do not squander it," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"Our GE-free status is giving New Zealand a valuable marketing advantage for our food exports, an opportunity to expand our flourishing organics industry and a chance to give real substance to our 100 per cent pure tourism campaign through protecting the health of our people and our environment."

Ms Fitzsimons said the opportunity to market New Zealand to the world as the producer of the world's cleanest, greenest food and as a pure, uncontaminated tourism destination would provide New Zealand with a sustainable and prosperous economy well into the future.

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"The Greens welcome yesterday's policy announcement from the Alliance of delaying the release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment. It is a step in the right direction but will not deliver the positive advantages of a bold and clear decision to be GE-free.

"In particular it does not appear to prevent experiments such as placing human genes into cows, which has attracted more public opposition than anything else," she said.

"I want to congratulate all of the organisers of yesterday's demonstrations and, above all, I want to acknowledge the 10,000 Aucklanders who spent a good chunk of a cold and wet Saturday making sure all the parties in parliament know exactly what the people want," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"And that is a GE-free New Zealand."

ENDS

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