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NZ Green MP And Monsanto Face-To-Face On Aus. TV

The genetic engineering issue is about to take off in Australia tomorrow, with New Zealand Green Party MP Jeanette Fitzsimons face-to-face with Monsanto's Brian Arnst in a one hour live television broadcast.

Australians have lagged behind New Zealand in the issue media-wise but a recent transtasman decision on mandatory labelling of genetically engineered food has created keen interest.

Tomorrow at 8.30pm (EST) Ms Fitzsimons will have support in the live panel discussion from Ms Mara Bun of the Australian Consumers' Association. The two will be up against Mr Arnst plus Australian Food and Grocery Foundation spokesperson Mitch Hook (or a farmer's representative; to be confirmed).

The programme, Insight, is the flagship of the Government-owned channel SBS on UHF frequency 028. It has won numerous Australian and international awards for its serious current affairs coverage. Insight has an average audience of 200,000 across Australia. The presenter and interviewer tomorrow will be experienced broadcaster Vivian Schenker.

Ms Fitzsimons said she was keen to "take the issue to Australia" because New Zealand's food safety standards were now being set by the Australia New Zealand Food Authority, based in Australia, and by joint meetings of state ministers where New Zealand's vote was always a minority one.

She will be flying to Sydney tomorrow afternoon.

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