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Baldock: GM - less moratorium; more management

Media Statement For immediate release Friday, 10 October 2003

Baldock: GM - less moratorium; more management

GMOs are a reality and it's time the focus shifted from "pseudo-moratoriums" to preparing regulations and managing the risks, United Future environment spokesman Larry Baldock said today.

Speaking from The Hague after a week of meetings with British, Dutch and German scientific, agricultural, trade and political figures, Mr Baldock said it was clear that New Zealand was addressing very similar issues to those faced in Britain and Europe.

"And it is also very clear that the public needs to learn a lot more about genetic modification.

"The reality is that it exists and there is no going back - no matter how much some sectors of society may wish that that could happen," he said.

"European parliamentarians and government officials are generally convinced that GMOs are here to stay and that the responsible thing for them to do is to prepare regulations and manage the risks while addressing genuine public concern rather than extending pseudo moratoriums that only put off the inevitable," he said

Having spoken with those involved in comprehensive British public consultation and also those from the UK's Science Panel, Mr Baldock said that "while there was still strong public opposition, the consultation had revealed a great lack of understanding on GMO issues".

Everyone is looking to the release next week of the results of four years of British field trials, he said.

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"Several authorities that I have met this week have commented on the robustness of the New Zealand regulatory regime and looked with some envy at the calling powers the Minister has been given in order to address the economic effects of GMOs.

"Countries in the European Union do not have this measure of control.

"The result of all my discussions leaves me further convinced that New Zealand is taking the right approach and the moratorium should be lifted to enable a case-by-case analysis of applications."


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