INDEPENDENT NEWS

Greens Can't Be A "Little Bit Pregnant" Over GM

Published: Fri 27 Oct 2000 12:59 AM
Greens Can't Be A "Little Bit Pregnant" Over GM Debate
Green Party MP Sue Kedgley wants a “bob each way” on the genetic modification debate, ACT MP Gerry Eckhoff said today.
The ACT Agricultural and Conservation Spokesman was responding to Ms Kedgley’s comment that while the Greens oppose GM technology in food production, it supported its use in medicine.
“It is like being a little bit pregnant – you either are or you’re not,” Mr Eckhoff said.
He said the Greens can not go about “hedging their bets” on the GM debate.
Mr Eckhoff said like Ms Kedgley, he supported medical researchers who say New Zealanders’ health could suffer if more restrictions were put on experiments into gene-based therapies.
“However, it is unrealistic to accept the benefits of genetic engineering for medical conditions, while opposing its use to benefit society in other areas,” Mr Eckhoff said.
He said the Greens had “failed miserably” to come up with credible solutions to important issues such as the eradication of pests which ravage forests, or the reduction in methane emission from farmed animals which allegedly contributes to global warming.
“I fail to see how any thinking person could rule out carefully conducted research that could render pests like possums sterile, or result in non-methane-producing grazing pasture.”
Mr Eckhoff said the Green Party on the one hand attacked what it called “rapacious” companies like agricultural environment research leader Monsanto, and on the other hand supported large pharmaceutical companies making millions developing other genetic engineering technology.
He said ACT supported the responsible use of science over “emotive scare mongering.”
“At the same time we recognise society’s need to make haste slowly and consider all the issues surrounding the GM debate,” Mr Eckhoff said.
ENDS
For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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