15 July 2002
New Zealand First has called for calm and reasoned debate over the GE issue over the next fifteen months to see if there is any logical reason to extend the moratorium on the commercial release of GE organisms.
New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has released the following statement to help voters clarify the position taken by his party on genetic engineering field trials.
Mr Peters noted his party's 1999 election policy to 'conduct a Commission of Inquiry into genetic engineering processes....'
"Having called for, and helped to achieve a Royal Commission we must now use the fifteen months we have got to examine its findings and to satisfy ourselves about the safety of this developing technology.
"The Commission itself recommended that more scientific work needed to take place before considering any applications to release.
"That work needs to proceed along with an open debate based on full access to this research and followed by a transparent decision-making process. If the issues are no clearer in October 2003 then the moratorium must be extended.
"The decision must be based on facts, not on figments of the imagination or fear-mongering. Prejudging the issues in July 2002 makes no sense to anyone.
"We should be spending the time taking a long hard look at what it will mean to lift the moratorium, for what New Zealanders want to know is that there will be no risk to humanity or to our environment," said Mr. Peters.