INDEPENDENT NEWS

NZ Urged to Follow Swiss Lead on GE Referendum

Published: Wed 30 Nov 2005 02:07 PM
NZ Urged to Follow Swiss Lead on GE Referendum
New Zealand should follow Switzerland and re-establish the moratorium on GE releases to protect its environment, exports and brand image.
In a recent referendum Swiss voters backed a moratorium on GE releases and the decision is expected to be passed into law once the vote is confirmed. The 5-year moratorium received broad support from farmers as well as consumers, despite heavy industry lobbying against the proposal.
The New Zealand government has consistently refused to hold a referendum here despite surveys showing some 75% of New Zealanders support protecting our GE-Free environment and building on our clean-green image.
“The gate is open to a GE application in New Zealand – whether for GE Onions, GE Blue roses (see below) or GE animals which put our brand at risk,” says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.
“Under the HSNO Act ERMA has no power to require a bond to cover costs of environmental clean-up or compensation for damage to the environment or exports which leaves farmers and the taxpayer seriously exposed.”
“Descriptions of New Zealand as the “Switzerland of the Pacific” are all well and good but our government is way behind the Swiss in terms of democracy and reflecting Public support for positioning us as a GE-free supplier to the world”.
“If we held a referendum in New Zealand it would confirm that ‘GE-Free’ has now become as much a part of the community’s Vision for this country as being ‘Nuclear-Free’. What is urgently needed is for the government to reinstate the moratorium to protect our farmers, exporters, public health, and the environment”
ENDS

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