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No Good Going Half Pie On GE Release - Greens

07 September 2001

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today only a ban on genetically engineered organisms in the environment would protect New Zealand's ecosystems and clean green reputation.

"While I welcome as a first step the suggestion of a moratorium on commercial or conditional release of genetically engineered crops or animals, as the Dominion today reported the Prime Minister is considering, that would still mean that some large-scale releases of genetically engineered organisms and all field trials could take place," she said.

"Allowing some releases and not others would be going half pie on the GE issue - we couldn't market ourselves as GE-Free, and we would be taking all the environmental risks identified in the Royal Commission report."

Three examples of possible large-scale release that could still be approved under such a policy are:
1. live genetically engineered vaccines such as the cholera vaccine which was found to have been used here without ERMA approval
2. the release of genetically engineered organisms such as viruses being developed for possum control
3. the widespread planting of genetically engineered pine trees (which may not be counted as 'crops')

"I don't imagine the Prime Minister has chosen the words "crops or animals" without a fair bit of thought, and although some people have read this as a Green victory, it is in fact very incomplete.

"I hope the Prime Minister will realise that the only way to protect our reputation as a GE-Free food producer and tourism destination is to keep all genetically engineered organisms, not just crops and animals, out of our environment."


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