INDEPENDENT NEWS

Rally for a GE free NZ in food and environment

Published: Fri 31 Aug 2001 06:43 PM
Auckland GE Free Coalition
Rally for a GE free NZ in food and environment
Auckland, Saturday 1st September – A rally in Auckland calling on the government to keep genetic engineering in the lab and not released into the environment, has brought together many diverse individuals and community groups.
“The Auckland GE Free Coalition rally has provided the public with an opportunity to show their concerns about GE in our environment. The call for a GE free NZ is something the government cannot ignore,” says GE Free Coalition spokesperson, Annette Cotter.
“The Royal Commission into Genetic Engineering (RCI) has failed to reflect the overwhelming scientific evidence and public opposition to GE in the environment in their recommendations. It is now up to the Government to ban any further GE releases,” says Cotter.
Alannah Currie of Thomson Twin fame, and co- ordinator of Artists for a GE free New Zealand, says “we (artists) have rallied together asking that the
Government to see reason and ban GE from our environment. The future
is organic.” (1)
Tangata Whenua have joined the rally concerned the RCI recommendations have paid only lip service to Maori.
“Maori sovereignty and the Treaty of Waitangi are inextricably link and the RCI recommendations have fail to acknowledge this,” says Nga Wahine Tiaki o Tea o spokesperson Donna Ngaronoa Gardiner.
“Public sentiment has already resulted in considerable commitments by food producers. Companies like Tegel have statistics showing that 75 percent of consumers are supportive of their GE free commitment. We expect this rally will encourage more food producers to go GE free,” says Cotter.
Speakers at the rally include: Dr Peter Wills (Theoretical Biologist), Kay Baxter (Horticulturist), Brendan Hoare (President of the Soil and Health Association), Del Wihongi and Leone Pihama (Nga Wahine Tiaki o Te Ao), Percy Tipene (Te Waka Kai Ora), Donna Gardiner, and Annette Cotter (Greenpeace) who is also the Auckland GE Free Coalition spokesperson.
Stalls and costumed entertainment will also be on hand to entertain the kids while the speakers address the rally.
International eyes are also on New Zealand with many countries keen that New Zealand prohibits GE release into the environment. The Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and Malaysia have written to Helen Clark, and GE Free New Zealand rallies have occurred in Sydney, Australia, England, Canada and San Paulo, Brazil.
For more information: Auckland GE Free Coalition spokesperson,
Annette Cotter 021 565 175 or media officer, Brendan Lynch 025 790 817
(1)Artists for a GE free New Zealand include Sam Neil, Jane Campion, Bic
Runga, and more. Artists have placed photos of themselves on
Auckland billboards and can be seen on { HYPERLINK http://www.gefreenz.com} wearing GE free New Zealand t- shirts.

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