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Hobbs' claim GE will fund health & ed "bizarre"

Hobbs' claim GE will fund health & education "bizarre"

The Green Co-leaders are astonished to hear Environment Minister Marian Hobbs proclaiming on Australian national television news that GE is going to fund health and education in New Zealand.

Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald saw Ms Hobbs make this extraordinary claim on ABC TV news last night. The co-leaders are in Canberra for the Australian Greens' national conference.

"We couldn't believe what we were hearing," the co-leaders said today.

Ms Hobbs said, verbatim: "Why do we want this? Not because we are buddying up to Monsanto or the US. We want it for us. It will pay for health. It will pay for education."

The co-leaders said this was a most bizarre claim. "We challenge Marian Hobbs to produce the slightest shred of evidence that GE is going to provide any funding for health and education.

"The global experience to date has been of GE farmers and biotechnology companies going broke or suffering major losses, and most GE crops producing reduced yields."

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation news item covered New Zealand's GE free marches. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch and other centres on Saturday, to express their opposition to releasing GE into the environment.

The Auckland march was the biggest anti-GE march to date, and one of the biggest protest marches New Zealand has ever seen, confirming that the already huge resistance to GE release is still growing, the co-leaders said.

"The marches are just the tip of the iceberg of public resistance to GE. There are at least 1 million more New Zealanders who, in their own quiet way, oppose the lifting of the moratorium.

"The Government can't keep arrogantly ignoring the wishes of the majority of the public over GE. It would be very easy to put the moratorium on hold for another five years. New Zealand will be in a much better position in 2008 to decide whether GE release should proceed or not," they said.

Jeanette and Rod are still in Australia but you can contact them on their mobile phones.

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