30 October 2001 Media Statement
GE moratorium strengthened
The Alliance has achieved its strong policy on GE.
“The genie is staying in the bottle,” Alliance leader Jim Anderton said.
The Government announced today that commercial release of genetically modified organisms would be banned for a minimum
of two years.
The moratorium on field trials which operated during the Royal Commission is being strengthened and put into
legislation. It will mean that field trials cannot be conducted if they pose any potential risk. Conditions imposed to
eliminate risk of release include:
- Any material associated with the trial must be capable of removal and destruction;
- Any heritable materials must be immediately destroyed;
- Compulsory inspection and monitoring.
“The Alliance led the political debate on GE when Phillida Bunkle first began raising the issue in Parliament in 1997.
We would never have agreed to commercial release or to field trials that permitted the possibility of GMOs escaping.
“Allowing the deliberate or accidental release of GM organisms into our environment could seriously compromise New
Zealand’s future opportunities. Conversely, to ban strictly-contained research would also undermine our future
opportunities. The Government’s position will safely and sensibly preserve future opportunities.
“Cabinet is strongly supportive of Maori concerns identified by the Royal Commission. The Government will address the
Treaty clause in HSNO amendments and seek to address spiritual, cultural and economic issues,” Jim Anderton said.
The new ban on release will run for two years.
“The Alliance prefers that the ban should remain in place until GM releases have been proven to be safe. On this the
coalition partners have agreed to differentiate. The Alliance will promote an amendment to the moratorium bill to ensure
that the ban will remain in place, if at the end of the two-year period questions about health and environmental safety
remain,” Jim Anderton said.