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"Corngate" inquiry terms of reference welcomed

"Corngate" inquiry terms of reference welcomed

The "Corngate" inquiry terms of reference are broad enough to reveal the truth behind the suspicions of GE-contamination of sweetcorn planted in 2000, Greens Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

The Local Government and Environment select committee today released the terms of reference for its inquiry into the alleged accidental release of genetically-engineered sweetcorn plants in 2000.

The inquiry was confirmed by the committee on October 17, and will get underway in February next year.

Ms Fitzsimons said she was pleased the committee had largely adopted the terms of reference she proposed, with useful amendments from both Labour and National.

"I look forward to the inquiry, and I especially look forward to being able to provide a clear and factual explanation to the public about what happened," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons has always been concerned that key questions raised by "Corngate" remained unanswered, and had been brushed under the carpet by the timing of the election.

Key issues which would be canvassed in the inquiry included the adequacy of GE testing, how government departments coped with the events, and whether the public and other parties were adequately informed about the issue at the appropriate time.

"I hope that once we have clarified the facts, we can make useful recommendations about issues of seed testing, interpretation of science, public sector decision-making, and enforcement of New Zealand's law on GE," Ms Fitzsimons said.

She hoped the inquiry might be completed by the middle of next year, but that depended on other work in front of the committee.

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