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Greens Welcome Carter Holt's GE Decision

24 November 2001

Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons welcomed news today that Carter Holt will not go ahead with planned field trials of genetically engineered pine trees, saying the decision was sensible and reflected public concern.

"The Greens congratulate Carter Holt for taking note of the high level of public concern over field trials of genetically engineered organisms outside the lab," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"Carter Holt is right to say that the time is not right for field trials."

Ms Fitzsimons said the Carter Holt decision was significant as their planned field trials were widely anticipated and, as a major timber producer, Carter Holt could continue to preserve New Zealand's valuable global reputation as a producer of GE-free timber.

"International Forest Certification systems for sustainable forestry offer the opportunity to add value to New Zealand timber products in discerning markets," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"This certification is not available to companies growing genetically engineered trees. It is a wise business decision for Carter Holt to keep its options open at this stage."

About a week ago Ms Fitzsimons wrote to the Forest Research Institute, which also has permission to proceed with a field trial of genetically engineered pine trees, asking them to delay planting until the new rules for field trials are in place and they can ensure they can comply with the new rules.

"If it is good enough for a public company to be responsive to public opinion let us hope it is good enough for a publicly owned research institute as well," she said.

Ends


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