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    92% don't want GE!

    The Tasmanian parliamentary select committee have recommended an open-ended continuation on their GMO crop release moratorium. They have expressed their desire to eventually declare themselves GE-free, intending to cash-in on the premiums on non-GE crops.

    We, the Safe Food Campaign, are deeply disappointed that the Royal Commission have recommended that NZ goes down a GE track which we know is unwanted. Public opinion polls have repeatedly shown that the vast majority of New Zealanders don't want GE food. It is noteworthy that of the 10,861 public submissions to the RCGM 9,998 were either strongly against or tended to be against GE.

    Over the last few years we have seen this world-wide aversion to GE manifest itself as a consumer rejection of GE, and an increasing demand for GE-free produce - not to mention the exponential increase in demand for organics. For example, US farmers are loosing up to 700 million pounds in lost markets as consumers shun GE. Similarly, Australian farmers gained an extra $US 750 000 on 150 000 tons of Canola - because it was not GE.

    Why are we willing to follow the GE path when we have this knowledge that GE is not needed and not wanted?

    Tee Rogers-Hayden
    Safe Food Campaign Spokesperson
    and Waikato University, Geography doctoral student

    News release from Greenpeace:
    Public will bear the cost of GE experimentation

    Auckland, Tuesday 31 July.

    Greenpeace says that if the government adopts the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Genetic Engineering (RCI), the public will bear the economic and environmental brunt of GE release if it goes wrong.

    "The commission have acknowledged the public do not want GE in the NZ environment, yet have not recommend a GE free NZ. Instead they place the liability, of adverse GE release, squarely on the shoulders of the taxpayer, the conventional and organic farmer," says Annette Cotter, Greenpeace campaigner.

    The RCI conclusion of liability issues acknowledges "the potential for some socialisation of unforeseen or unanticipated loss or damage" but considers that, "with the emphasis on prevention, this is appropriate" (CH 12,p328).

    "Prevention measures can't be adequate. Seed contamination is widespread in Europe, an unapproved GE corn is throughout the food chain in the US, and canola field trials in Western Australia cannot be contained. The rate of containment breaches internationally should send a clear message to NZ. Once GE is in the environment, contamination is inevitable. Why does the Commission think NZ will be any different?"

    "Insurers have already said they are not prepared to insure GE, and the commissioners acknowledge this, "it is improbable that insurers would take on such risks." (CH 12, p323). Currently, there is almost no liability regime for environmental damage by adverse GE release, which may take years to manifest," says Ms Cotter.

    Greenpeace is calling on the Government to officially extend the current voluntary moratorium on GE in the environment, until the government's decision-making ends and they call for a GE free NZ in food and the environment.

    August 2001

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