Soil & Health Association of New Zealand (Est. 1941)
Publishers of ORGANIC NZ
GE-Free New Zealand in food and environment
27 January 2011
MAF has allowed Kate Valley Landfill to become New Zealand's next GE contaminated site.
MAF has allowed Kate Valley Landfill to become New Zealand's next GE contaminated site, while dodging testing for GE
contamination of more rogue brassica plants at Plant & Food Research's Lincoln GE brassica field trial site, although MAF's own rules demanded testing, according to the Soil & Health Association of NZ, and GE Free NZ in food and environment.
Soil & Health and GE Free NZ have monitored Plant & Food Research's genetically engineered (GE) brassica trial site at Lincoln for further contamination following
discovering a flowering GE kale there in 2008.
Following their investigation in 2009 which found that other GE brassica had also flowered in 2008, MAF, through a
Compliance Order, had then set strict requirements including the testing for GE of all brassica found growing at the
site following cultivations beginning in spring and summer 2010, and for 5 years of monitoring after the last brassica
seedling was found.
"In spring 2010 Plant & Food Research and MAF agreed to dig out soil likely to be contaminated with GE brassica seed and deep bury it, but ten
days ago we have found that another brassica has still emerged," said Soil & Health-Organic NZ spokesperson Steffan Browning.
"MAF and Plant & Food Research have said they did not need to test for GE because the brassica photographed was a different species to
the oleracea used in the trial crop, but they ignored the controls previously set down and the ability of brassica to
cross between species, because MAF want to let Plant & Food reduce monitoring to one year rather than the 5 years originally set."
"They have messed up again and both are now trying to dodge their responsibilities."
"Soil & Health-Organic NZ photographs from December show the MAF supervised soil removal has clearly spilt soil and seed back
into the cleared plot, and all brassica in the plot and surrounding area must be tested for GE contamination for at
least 5 years. MAF must stop chopping and changing rules to suit those responsible for one of New Zealand's worst GE
Plant & Food's spokesman said that what they believe to be a wild turnip was likely to have blown in as seed, although a 2008
trial report stated that wild turnip were already growing there, and MAF's 2009 investigation said that pollen from the
site would unlikely to have been blown more than two metres.
"They can't have it both ways. These duplicitous statements from MAF and Plant & Food, with earlier support by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA), show a need for an independent look
at GE risk management in New Zealand," said Mr Browning.
GE Free NZ in food and environment Inc and Soil & Health-Organic NZ agree that contaminated sites need careful management but creating another contaminated site should
only be through a public consultation process.
"The assurances that this toxic GE soil has been properly disposed of are meaningless if the previous GE incidents are
an example" said Claire Bleakley President of GE Free NZ.
"This breached site has become a bungled set of untrustworthy and duplicitous platitudes. The strict protocols, that
the public was assured are in place, are being changed and broken at every turn."
"The removal of GE contaminated soil to Kate Valley landfill, North Canterbury is of concern. The toxic mix of
pesticides and GE exudate loaded Plant & Food Research soil from Lincoln, could become mixed with the other highly injurious residues of almost everything
imaginable, including multiple chemicals, food processing, hospitality, hospital and veterinary waste, further
threatening the environment."
"Landfill dumps are commonly associated with vermin that burrow into the soil living on the detritus that collects
there. Landfills are a reservoir of contamination, and the movement of any GE contaminated soil not only threatens the
countryside but also threatens the health of the community. It is not known where the soil was placed and if it is not
totally isolated and clearly marked it could be mistakenly used as fill or leach into the surrounding country side."
"I shared the concerns of North Canterbury residents when the Kate Valley landfill was first proposed. Never did I think
it would also be a site for GE contamination," said Mr Browning.
"Plant & Food Research must not consider that scraping a foot of soil off a GE site is somehow going to render the site
uncontaminated. Horizontal gene transfer associated with genetic engineering has clearly and irresponsibly not been part
of the thinking."
Soil & Health-Organic NZ and GE Free NZ promote organic production and share a vision of an organic Aotearoa New Zealand. With
no shortage of brassica species available, no genetic engineering is necessary, neither is contamination of soils. The
certified organic properties both in Lincoln and near Kate Valley deserve the expertise that Plant & Food Research and MAF, away from GE, can offer for the growth in organics in New Zealand.