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ERMA Fails On All Counts

ERMA Fails On All Counts As N.Z. Government Bows To Pressure From Bush

ERMA has failed on all counts with it’s approval of the GE Onion Trials, according to Charles Drace, author of ‘Everything You Need to Know About GE but the Government Won’t Tell You - a genetic engineering resources book.’

ERMA is supposed to assess the risks of GE technology and provide a protective framework so GE doesn’t pose risks to the environment. Yet, they’ve approved an application for trials that are specifically designed to AVOID showing those risks, known risks like horizontal gene transfer, pollen contamination, soil contamination, and adverse effects on insects. It’s also been designed to avoid the study of the proven adverse effects on health associated with this type of GE technology.

ERMA is supposed to only approve the use of technology that brings a potential benefit to the country. Yet, the purpose of these trials is to develop technology for the use of and future profitability of an American company, Semenis, and to help the chemical powerhouse Monsanto sell more chemicals.... in other words, for the profits to go overseas.

ERMA is supposed to consider other alternatives. Conventional onions, a major export of New Zealand, sell for 30 cents per pound, wholesale. GE food always sells for at least 1/3rd less because of the health risks, so the most we could sell GE onions for would be 20 cents per pound. New Zealand organic onions currently sell overseas for $3 per pound and we can’t keep up with demand. Go figure!

ERMA is supposed to assess the legitimacy of an application. The Round-Up Ready GE onions Crop and Food are developing for Semenis through these trials are designed to reduce herbicide use. Yet, overseas studies over the past six years show that Round-Up Ready GE technology, when used in practice, results in 2 to 5 times MORE herbicide use than conventional practices. ERMA knew this yet ignored it. It defies all logic to accept, as ERMA has, that a technology designed by a chemical company to enable it to sell more chemicals will somehow miraculously reduce the use of chemicals.

• ERMA is supposed to review and assess scientific studies. Yet, ERMA has ignored recent studies from France and Belgium, which I presented to them, which show that all the major GE foods now produced in America have mutated so far from the original approved GE construction that they would no longer qualify for approval. In fact, GE Bt Corn has mutated into a form that is so toxic it would be illegal if it hadn’t already been approved in it’s original form The reason for these mutations is that GE scientists still have no way of controlling GE technology. Because it’s an out of control technology thousands of scientists around the world who are not funded by GE chemical companies have joined organisations committed to keeping GE out of the environment until it can be understood and controlled. ERMA has ignored them.

The only justification for ERMA’s decision lies in the fact that Helen Clark and team are committed to a free trade agreement with the United States and the Bush administration have stated, categorically, that they will not discuss free trade UNTIL we have opened our markets to American GE food and GE technology companies. That’s why the moratorium was lifted, that’s why the onion trials were approved, and that’s why the New Zealand government has decided to pay the cost of all applications to ERMA for GE trials - so they can prove to Bush that they’re opening our market as he has instructed. The stink of government involvement in this decision is the ruse of trying to embargo the decision until journalists go on leave for the holidays, a ruse they’ve used on every occasion when there’s been an unpopular GE announcement.

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