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Greens call for wider look at Crown entities

Greens call for wider look at Crown entities

Green Media Release 28th May 2007

Prime Minister Helen Clark’s confirmation that agents of Solid Energy have been spying on peaceful protestors raises huge questions about other state-owned entities, says Greens Co-Leader Russel Norman.

Because of the Green Partys’ areas of interests there seems a real possibility party members and office-holders have been spied on also.

“Ms Clark has called Solid Energy’s behaviour unacceptable but she went on to suggest this morning the State-Owned Enterprise was pushed into its spying activities out of frustration,” Dr Norman says. “Meanwhile SOE Minister Trevor Mallard has partly excused Solid Energy by calling the behaviour of young protestors `appalling’.

“That is not good enough. I have questions about other SOEs such as Transpower and Genesis. Are farmers, and others who are campaigning against pylons, being spied on? And what about local people trying to save rivers such as the Waitaki?”

Dr Norman says the Sunday Star Times article suggests the biotechnology lobby group NZbio may have used spies against anti-vivisectionists.

“This raises the question too of whether Crown Research Institutes such as AgResearch and Crop & Food Research, who have lobbied for genetically engineered food and are corporate members of NZbio, are also employing spies against anti-GE-food protestors and the Greens,” he says. “We have had tip-offs that NZbio may have been spying at least on anti-GE campaigners.

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“As in the case of those campaigning to reduce the impact of Solid Energy’s activities, many anti-GE campaigners and defenders of wild rivers are members and office-holders of the Greens.”

Dr Norman says it would be better for the Government to take a much more serious look at the ethics of SOEs and CRIs who have used agents to spy on protestors.

"Cabinet ministers, who were once peace, Maori rights and anti-Springbok tour protestors themselves should take a moment to recall their youth, and urge state-owned entities to disclose their activities.

“Otherwise, as we saw in the media yesterday, it will all come out in public eventually and embarrass them.”


ENDS

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