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GE Liability Dealt within Current Legislation

GE Liability Effectively Dealt within Current Legislation

Current legislation provides clear and appropriate protection liability issues in regard to GE contamination, says Federated Farmer's National Board Member Neil Barton.

Mr Barton was responding to comments made by Pacific Seeds regional director Howard Morris that New Zealand tax payers should be liable for GE contamination.

"The New Zealand Government chose to place a moratorium on the commercial release of GM organisms for agricultural and horticultural use," said Mr Barton. "Therefore it is appropriate for the Government to meet the costs when a company has exercised extremely high levels of due diligence and exceeded their obligations under New Zealand law.

"The level of contamination in this case was less was less than 0.05%. This crop would have been regarded as GE free in most other countries.

"If the Government chooses not to support companies such as Pacific Seeds in this situation we run the risk of driving them offshore and that they will take their business to our international competitors.

"This issue is no different from border control.

"New Zealand already accepts that no individual should be expected to bear the full costs when acting according to the regulatory requirements. If it is in the broader public interest to achieve total eradication of an unwanted disease or organism then clearly the public should bear the cost of that eradication.

"Such provisions are contained within the Biosecurity Act which provides for compensation in the event of a biosecurity breech.

"Without these provisions we run the risk that people will not report biosecurity breeches or indeed the very real risk that international seed companies will abandon New Zealand for seed multiplication and cease to develop improved species for New Zealand conditions."

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