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Serious Risk in Fed. Farmers Short Term Thinking

Published: Thu 5 Sep 2013 09:23 AM
Serious Risk in Fed. Farmers Short Term Thinking
Federated Farmers are putting the future of farming and New Zealand exports at risk because of short term thinking and blind trust in central government regulation.
Federated Farmers have accepted the line spun by Minister for the Environment Amy Adams, that all decisions on GMOs should be left to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
In doing so they are failing to think beyond the short term to the time when the EPA ceases to have power and when the costs of harm from GMOs and costs of clean up are 'socialized'.
The longer term livelihoods of their members and the wellbeing of communities cannot be protected by the EPA because the EPA ceases to have any jurisdiction after release of a new organism.
It is vital for local authorities to be prepared for that scenario and to be able to put protections in place that preserve the integrity of their food production systems and environment.
Federated Farmers are doing the country a disservice in opposing local oversight that holds users of GMOs liable for damage and requires a bond and financial fitness to cover such costs.
The EPA has no powers to provide such protection following a GMO release. We must learn from recent costs of Leaky buildings and a real life example of a GMO field trial gone awry.
We know that the 3000 GM sheep at Whakamarumaru were destroyed with no funds for cleanup or monitoring because the overseas company PPL went bankrupt. This is an example of the critical issue on financial risk if a GMO user cannot fund cleanup or compensation after the EPA jurisdiction is over.
To ensure protection of economic advantages as a GM free food producer it is vital to offset the risks of a central regulatory system that is not fit for purpose as identified in the auditor general's review of biosecurity and MPI earlier this year, and in the recent report by the McGuiness Institute evaluating ten years of GMO experiments.
Members of Federated Farmers should be concerned that their leaders are actively opposing mechanisms to give them long term protection.
ends

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