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GE Decision At Outer Limit Of Public Acceptability

30 October 2001

GE Decision At Outer Limit Of Public Acceptability


United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne, says the government's decisions on genetic engineering are at the outer limit of public acceptability.

"They have sought to strike a balance between the scientific and economic opportunities GE has the potential to create and huge public concern about the environmental implications of GE."

"Their major test now will be to persuade a largely sceptical public that they have struck the right balance, and that the safeguards they are proposing regarding field trials are workable," he says.

Mr Dunne says it is wrong to assume extreme environmentalists and scientists are the only ones with an interest in this issue.

"Concern about the possible implications of the risks of unrestricted release of genetically modified organisms into the environment is not the sole prerogative of the more extreme voices we have heard in recent months."

"Many, many mainstream New Zealand families also share that anxiety, and they are the people that will need to be persuaded that today's decisions are safe, practical and workable."

"Otherwise, if mainstream New Zealand fails to be convinced they are a prudent option, these decisions will prove unsustainable" Mr Dunne says.

Mr Dunne says United Future has always favoured a cautious and balanced to GE issues, and sees today's decisions being at the outer limits of that.

"Time will tell whether the Government is committed to these decisions, or whether it has set up a straw man it is able to recoil from if the public reaction is too negative."

"Either way, these decisions are not the end of the GE debate," Mr Dunne says.

Ends

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