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Govt bias to blame for slow down in organics

NZ Government bias to blame for slow down in organics. Consumers faced with
"technology tax".

A slowdown in organic farming conversion, highlighted in an announcement by Seager Mason from BIO-Gro, can be directly linked to a bias in government policies.Failure to secure and build New Zealand's position in this multibillion dollar industry can be laid at the government's door.

" We believe the slowdown in organic conversion is directly due to a government policy that runs counter to the worldwide growth in organics. New Zealand risks missing out. The government seems seduced by biotech business, and are missing out on the obvious opportunities for Brand New Zealand" said Jon Carapiet of GE Free New Zealand in Food and Environment.

" Organic exports are in huge demand due to a distaste for GE crops yet our Minister of Trade continues to promote GE and give inadequate support for the alternatives," says Mr Carapiet."The lacodaisical attitude to contamination shown by this government is appalling and this effects the interest in organic production."

The government's recent media spin relating to GE contamination will also affect organics, as well as market acceptance of New Zealand's conventionally produced food.The majority of New Zealanders , as well as our overseas cutomers- don't want GE in their food or in the environment but are being mislead by signals that the New Zealand food supply is already contaminated and that conventional GE-free food is becoming unavailable.At best consumers look destined to be forced to pay more as ordinary GE-Free food production is burdened with extra costs.

Government Policy is creating a "Technology tax" on consumers.

There is concern that behind the PR spin is government policy that will force people to pay more for GE-Free food.

" Consumers will be forced to pay more for ordinary food. Forcing costs onto conventional and organic food-production is a kind of "technology-tax" in reverse. Those wanting NOT to use GE technology are being burdened with extra cost as a result of pollution from biotech company products.'

GE Free New Zealand is concerned that the Trade portfolio is a direct conflict of interest with Jim Sutton's other Ministerial positions, that of Minister of Agriculture and Biosecurity, and that his recent promotion of GE threatens to unnacceptably compromise the national interest which global markets signal as being in "GE-Free".

However recent comments by Helen Clarke, relating to forcing GE foods on starving Third World populations despite an undetermined risk, suggested people in New Zealand should have a choice of GE Free food. Unfortunately this will not be the case if government policy does not change.

After 4 years of consumer demand for labelling the onus is no longer on the companies who sell GE contaminated food but is being manipulated to make users of GE-Free labels make extra payment for GE-Free accreditation.

This is a ridiculous state of affairs when all the Ministry of Health's free testing goes to subsidise those who use GE, often multinational companies with huge budgets that dwarf the funds available to organic or conventional farmers producing GE-Free foods.

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