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Govt Dithering Likely to Lead to Unrest Over GM

Govt Dithering Likely to Lead to Unrest Over GM

Monday 29 Oct 2001 Gerry Eckhoff Press Releases -- Environment & Conservation

ACT Environment Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said it seems likely that after months of dithering over GM, the Government still won't have addressed issues of vital concern.

"It now appears that the Government is going to present New Zealand with a soft compromise which will probably include a Claytons lifting of the moratorium.

"Yet again the Government is stuck in the middle. We've seen complete dithering when we want decisions and true leadership.

"ACT has said from the outset that we support science and the careful introduction of GM. This could and should be done by studying all the issues and putting the right measure in place to avoid later difficulties and raising public concern. This Government with its lack of commercial reality doesn't appear to have examined all the issues it needed to.

"It is very clear for example that one of the public's greatest concerns over the introduction of GM on a wider scale is the worry about cross-contamination of crops. There is very little risk of this, but it is a risk that should be addressed by the Government at the time it announces its decision on GM.

"The prospect of cross-contamination would appear to be a fairly straight forward property rights issue and would therefore best be treated as such by Government. Horticultural spray drift is now recognised as a pollution problem and nobody has a right to contaminate a neighbour's property.

"All farmers have a 'duty of care' to the wider population and as such would take into account this decision in deciding to grow a GM crop. The Government should state unequivocally the liability for contamination lies with the grower of a GM crop where loss or contamination is proven. This will allay fears of many people about GM.

"A failure to tackle this and other such issues will allow the Greens to continue scaring the public with misinformation and will hamper the development of GM-related industries much needed by this country," Gerry Eckhoff said

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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