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Waitakere City joins the GE-Free brigade

Waitakere City joins the GE-Free brigade

15 November 2001

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today congratulated Waitakere City Mayor Bob Harvey and his councillors on their overwhelming support for Waitakere City to become GE-Free.

By a vote of 12 to 1, the council last night voted for Waitakere City to go GE-Free in field and food.

The council also voted in favour of establishing a cluster of organic enterprises in the city.

"This is a clear message to the Prime Minister that local councils are in touch with what the people living in their areas want, and that they are prepared to take action to get it.

"The move for local councils to declare their local areas GE-Free is gaining strength," said Ms Fitzsimons. The Government disappointed many people by allowing field trials to go ahead. Now local councils are finding the strength of character and leadership which the Government is lacking on this issue."

"The overwhelming majority of New Zealanders don't want to eat genetically engineered food, and they don't want genetically engineered organisms released into their backyard.

Ms Fitzsimons said that Waitakere City councillors should be prepared for a backlash campaign from the LifeSciences Network lobby group, in the same way that Nelson councillors were targeted after their GE-Free decision.

"Nelson councillors were subjected to a barrage of letters, some of them suggesting that medicines such as GE insulin made in the laboratory could not be used in a GE-Free zone.

"This is completely untrue - GE insulin and other medicines can still be used and medical research in the laboratory can also continue - since those do not require the release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment.

"The commercial or experimental release of plants, viruses or animals into the environment would be stopped, because the risks of those releases are too great and can not even be properly assessed."

ENDS


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