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FFNZ Welcomes National Party stance on GM

17 October 2001 PR157/01
FFNZ Welcomes National Party stance on GM

Federated Farmers President Alistair Polson has welcomed National's willingness to work with Government in upholding the key conclusion of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification that New Zealand should adopt a "proceed with caution" approach.

"The National Board of Federated Farmers met with National Party leader Bill English, Tony Ryall and Gavan Herlihy yesterday and enjoyed a free and frank exchange on issues of concern to the rural community, said Mr Polson. "It is heartening to see National heed farmer's concerns about a continued moratorium on GM field trials."

"The Royal Commission report shows New Zealand will expose itself to significant economic risk if it shuts off options and opportunities, said Mr Polson. A risk New Zealand cannot afford to take given the uncertainty of the global market place."

"A continued moratorium on GM field trails or commercial release will effectively be a moratorium on GM. Any commercial release will be a minimum of two years away but no organisation will be prepared to invest if it is vulnerable to political whim and the risk of an extended moratorium.

"New Zealand can expect to loose research capacity and investment will be diverted offshore, as our comparative and competitive advantage is eroded irrevocably, said Mr Polson.

"The threat to New Zealand is real. Already New Zealand's largest company, Fonterra Co-operative Group, has stated that an extended moratorium on applications for commercial release will make it move its research operations offshore.

"It is time for the Government to show some leadership and acknowledge the Royal Commission's conclusions, thus keeping New Zealand's options open to build a strong economy and sustainable environment."

ENDS

For more information: Alistair Polson, PH 04 473 7269 or 025 370 085 Tony St Clair, PH 04 473 7269

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