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Public has no confidence in GE regulator

Public has no confidence in GE regulator

A new poll showing that the majority of New Zealanders do not have confidence in the GE regulator ERMA means the brakes must go back on GE immediately, Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

"This poll result means the main plank in the Government's plan to proceed with GE is gone. The Government's entire case for GE releases into the environment rests on the credibility of ERMA to do case by case assessment.

"With most New Zealanders saying they don't trust ERMA, the Environmental Risk Management Authority, it is incumbent on the Government to immediately extend the moratorium," Ms Fitzsimons said.

The One News/Colmar Brunton poll asked people how much faith they have in ERMA to protect New Zealand. Fifty-three per cent say they do not have confidence and 13 per cent are unsure, giving a total of 66 per cent with doubts. Only 34 per cent say they have confidence.

"The Green Party has for a long time been warning that ERMA is simply not up to the job," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"This confirms the public agree. An independent review of the authority earlier this year showed that the authority has deficiencies in skills and competence, and that it favours GE applicants over objectors.

"While the Government says it has tightened up the authority, there is very little real evidence of this."

Meanwhile, more wheels are falling off the GE wagon. The Crop and Food Research GE potato project at Lincoln, expected to be the first application for release, is now in doubt. It missed out on Government funding in the latest Foundation for Research Science and Technology round.

Lead researcher Tony Conner has confirmed that the timing of any application to ERMA for release of the potatoes now depends on when they can find research funding. The project aims to develop a GE potato resistant to the potato tuber moth.


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