Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today said the theme of 'Unique New Zealand' for Conservation Week had never
been more timely following the Royal Commission into Genetic Modification recommending the release of genetically
engineered organisms into the environment last week.
Conservation Week starts today and runs for a week with the theme 'Unique New Zealand - Te Whenua Ahurei'. The week will
focus on New Zealand's unique natural and cultural heritage and on the plant and animal species found nowhere else in
the world apart from New Zealand.
"At a time when releasing genetically engineered plants, animals and organisms into our environment has never been
closer I am delighted that this week is about celebrating what makes us unique - our clean, green, natural and GE-free
environment," said Ms Fitzsimons.
"I hope New Zealanders take the time this week to reflect on and celebrate what it is that makes us different from the
rest of the world and on how much we want to preserve this uniqueness. How much do we cherish what sets us apart?"
"The Royal Commission found that the biggest gap in our knowledge about the effects of genetically engineered organisms
was in their likely effect on ecosystems and soils. It acknowledged evidence that our ecosystems are unique and have
evolved in isolation from the rest of the world," she said.
"We also have a unique cultural heritage which has led to New Zealanders developing special relationships with the land.
"We are nuclear-free and right now we are one of a few nations in the world that are GE-free. The Green Party hope the
people of New Zealand will get behind us to ensure we stay this way," said Ms Fitzsimons.