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Strong Opposition Against GE Pine Trees In NZ

Strong Opposition Against GE Pine Trees In New Zealand

Up to 700 submissions on GE pine trees were put forward to the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) through an internet web site over the last three weeks.

The participatory democracy advocate web site http://www.context.co.nz together with Greenpeace New Zealand provided the public with a form and information on genetically engineered pine trees, encouraging people to make a submission to ERMA during the public consultation period, which ended last night. The application is from the Forest Research Institute (FRI) to field trial genetically engineered pine trees in the open environment.

Phil Doherty, the editor of context.co.nz said: “It is a great success that so many people decided to actively express their opinion on GE trees and took part in this process of direct democracy. We would very much like to see ERMA providing online forms themselves, to make it easier for people to make submissions. Until then we will provide the service.”

Out of the 700 submissions the vast majority are opposing the field trial, according to ERMA. The average amount of submissions to ERMA regarding field trials in the past is between 10 and 50 according to ERMA.

Mario Rautner, GE trees campaigner with Greenpeace said: This is a very strong statement that the public does not agree with the release of genetically engineered trees into New Zealand’s open environment. We are calling on the FRI to accept the public opposition to this experiment. We would like to see the FRI applying the voluntary moratorium and halting this field trial now. Genetically engineered trees could pose a very serious threat to the environment and we oppose this unpredictable experiment with nature.”

There are several submissions that were put forward by concerned people from overseas, including Great Britain and Japan. One submitter from Australia stated one of his reasons for opposing this application was: “Despite the rebuttals of issues and assurances of safety by the profiteering GE companies, scientists can't possibly understand the short and long term environmental implications of introducing these synthetic organisms into our incredibly complex global and local ecosystems..”

The submission period ended last night.

-Ends-

For further information contact

Phil Doherty from context.co.nz on 04 476 2829
Mario Rautner from Greenpeace on 09 630 6317

Note to the editors:
A Greenpeace briefing on GE trees is available

Mario Rautner Genetically Engineered Trees Campaigner Greenpeace New Zealand mario.rautner@nz.greenpeace.org

www.greenpeace.org

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