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New report explodes GM myths - Fitzsimons

New report explodes GM myths

A comprehensive new report into the impact of genetically modified crops in North America has huge implications for this country, Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

The Seeds of Doubt report commissioned by Britain's Soil Association has found that GM soya, maize and oilseed rape crops have cost the US economy more than $25 billion since 1999.

"The New Zealand Government has consistently ignored our arguments about the environmental, health and economic threats posed by lifting the moratorium on commercial release next year," said Jeanette Fitzsimons. "How can they continue to ignore the facts?"

The report into GM crops' effect on North American farms finds that:

· Almost the entire $700 million annual US maize export to the EU and the $700 million annual Canadian rape export to the EU have disappeared;
· All non-GM farmers are finding it very hard or impossible to grow GM-free crops;
· GM contamination has led to a proliferation of lawsuits, including a class action launched on behalf of the whole organic sector in Saskatchewan for the loss of the organic rape market;
· Claims of increased Bt maize yields have not been realised, with the main GM variety (Roundup Ready soya) yielding 6 -11 per cent less than non-GM varieties;
· Major North American farmers' groups are urging members to plant non-GM crops this year, and are demanding a ban or moratorium on the next major proposed GM food crop, GM wheat.

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"The single silver lining from this litany of disaster is that the rest of the world can learn from North America's mistakes," said Jeanette Fitzsimons. "We still have the opportunity to pull back from the brink.

"As the New Zealand Government prepares amending legislation to allow 'conditional release' to ignore buffer zones between GE and non-GE crops, it should pause to consider the evidence in this report that buffer zones have not prevented widespread contamination of other crops.

"We are not asking the Government to make a decision based on emotive, irrational or unscientific reasons. The hard evidence about the disastrous consequences of rushing into GM release is mounting by the day: to ignore it makes no sense."

A summary of the Seeds of Doubt report can be found at http://www.soilassociation.org

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