26/03/2008

GM Brassica High Court case two day hearing on 31st March.

 

GE Free NZ (in food and environment) GM Brassica hearing is set down for the High Court in Wellington on March 31st. The case will be heard over two days.

GE Free NZ (in food and environment) filed High Court Papers on 25 June 2007 in relation to errors in law relating to approvals for field trials of GE Brassica.

Organics Aotearoa New Zealand and New Zealand Biological producers and consumers Society Inc filed in support of GE Free NZ appeal. They are not going to add new points but support the appeal points.

GE Free submits that under the Hazardous substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act field testing must include testing for adverse effects and ERMA failure to require testing for adverse effects is wrong in law.

If it is deemed that there has been an error in law then ERMA would have to consider what happens to the already planted Brassica plants. Crop and Food went ahead with the planting regardless of the appeal.

GE Free NZ in food and environment is a voluntary Organisation that informs and educates it members and public around issues to do with genetic engineering.

The Organisation has been incorporated since 1998 when it started as RAGE. It is funded by donations and membership fees. GE Free NZ prints 2000 quarterly newsletters for its members.

“GE Free NZ (in food and environment) decided that this approval cannot go unscrutinised and unfortunately there is no other legal redress for those making public submissions. The cost for the public to have their voice heard has been considerable but our members believed that it was worth it for justice.

Back ground

Crop and Food applied to the ERMA Authority to field test GM Brassica (Cauliflower,Cabbage, Broccoli and forage kale) with insecticide resistant genes isolated from the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacteria. The field test is to be run in the Lincoln Region for 10 years to assess the agronomic performance of the plants. The application and decision on GMF06001 can be found at www.ermanz.govt.nz.

The HSNO Act requires that a field test is opened up to submissions from the public.

Exerpts from previous GE Free Press releases www.gefree.org.nz

ERMA received 940 submissions asking that the application be declined in light of known dangers of the organism to the New Zealand economy, public and animal health; making a commercial release impossible to envisage. 17/6/07

“What seems to be happening is that scientific, economic and ethical issues raised in the public submission process are being downgraded or ignored. When combined with the failure of Crown Research Institutes CRI’s to provide complete information about the risks, the result is New Zealand being opened up to a “rent a space and we’ll clean up after you” mentality.” 25/6/07

The ERMA hearing was initially disrupted as people protested the farcical nature of the process and expressed concern that ERMA would approve the application regardless of submissions. The Brassica hearing cost NGO’s many thousands of dollars to participate. The submitters provided well researched scientific evidence that was not previously included in the application. However key concerns were judged “negligible”. 17/6/07

"The lack of necessary research protocols and experimental procedures over the ten years of the trials means that little knowledge of value will come out of the field tests," says Claire Bleakley from GE free NZ ( in food and environment). "We ask anyone concerned to support and donate to this challenge." 25/6/07

Ends:

Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842 Mob: 027 348 6731

References:
www.gefree.org.nz for information behind this decision.

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