INDEPENDENT NEWS

Candidate Wants Wellington Declared GE Free

Published: Wed 8 Aug 2001 04:15 PM
Wellington City Council Candidate Wants Wellington Declared ‘A GE Free Zone’.
‘Why not?’ says Phil Sprey, Independent Candidate for Eastern Ward in Wellington, ‘We took the lead by our anti nuclear stance so why can’t we do the same with a big NO to open field trials in genetic engineering.’
With excellent universities now located in the City with a budding generation of young minds, let’s leave the experimentation in the laboratories.
‘New Zealand markets itself globally on its points of difference, says Sprey, ‘the clean green, 100% Pure image, tourism, adventure and a growing organic products market is already established so why become just another chemical experiment.’
Our Anti GE position will reinforce the point of difference and will attract a premium and enviable price for those ‘natural’ commodities in the future. The more our international competitors embrace GE the more our position and ‘rarity’ will gain in economic value. ‘We will regret having missed a potential future goldmine when we are potentially one of the only GE free producers,’ says Sprey. ‘The added value of our exports will be prized internationally.’
Environmentally the benefits of not releasing modified organisms and seeds etc speaks for itself. No one in New Zealand’s scientific community can guarantee that open experimentation is ‘safe’. Remembering reversing the GE process once out is impossible.
This ban doesn’t prevent the experimentation under controlled lab conditions nor should it discourage review as the science continues to evolve especially in medical and related fields.
‘As we courageously did with our anti nuclear stance, we should take the lead and declare Wellington an anti GE zone and hope that other local bodies follow suit.’ ‘The voters should ask their local candidates regardless of their party connections where they stand on the issue.’
As elected representatives of a given geographical area and under existing by-laws and resource consents and district plans etc, councils can prevent the release of this technology in so called ‘field trials’ where boundaries cannot be guaranteed or controlled.
‘The area I represent is already letting me know in no uncertain terms that they favour a ban and that a demonstration of this in Octobers election deserves consideration.’ ‘A duty of councillors is to regard their environmental, social, cultural and economic responsibilities, so it is appropriate that if central Government can’t see the pitfalls and localised impacts or the bigger picture, then each local body should clearly send their own message to Parliament.’
PHIL SPREY: Wellington City Council, Eastern Ward Candidate.

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