30/06/2010

Supreme Court Leaves ERMA Responsible for GE

 

The decision by the Supreme Court to not hear an appeal by GE Free NZ is a great disappointment.

The Supreme Court ruling says that an application to create GMO’s cannot be challenged at an early stage, except in the rarest of cases. GE Free considered that this was just such a case. AgResearch applied to create essentially limitless GMO’s, even going as far as asking to use modification techniques unknown today. GE applications with insufficient information remove the opportunity for the public to voice legitimate concerns.

"GE is a very contentious issue in New Zealand and for people around the world" said Claire Bleakley. "The High Court decision defined what information was required which the Court of Appeal saying GE applications had to be within the law."

Due to the findings of the High Court, for the first time ever ERMA staff recommended the four GE applications from AgResearch be declined; because of the unlimited range of GE modifications, techniques and traits, ERMA staff were unable to assess the risks. This also casts doubt on the efficacy of decision-making in other applications equally devoid of vital information.

Public involvement in the GE hearings runs into hundreds of thousands of dollars and this in effect silences many of those who cannot afford to be heard. Any GE accident or contaminations will not only affect exports but also the health of the environment, animals and communities at a huge cost to the New Zealand people. New Zealand farmers are 100% GE free in their production and are dependent on the New Zealand brand for their livelihood.

We hope that this decision by the Supreme Court does not further nullify and invalidate the public voice.

The community's trust in GE claims has been eroded by the reality which has resulted in low yields, crop failures, increasing pesticide reliance, animal deformities and recurrent GE field and laboratory breaches. New Zealand must move forward to look at natural and whole-of-system sustainable solutions to manage the challenges we face. It is not appropriate waste public money searching for a technical magic bullet. The government needs to implement existing solutions. Evidence suggests GE will never be an acceptable, sustainable and viable option.

ENDS:
Jon Carapiet - 0210507681
Claire Bleakley 065 3089842 / 027 348 6731

References:

Blanchard, Tipping and McGrath JJ Judgment of the Court - SC 38/2010 [2010] NZSC 71

ERMA New Zealand Evaluation and Review Report Applications: GMC07012, GMD08012, GMD07074 and GMF07001. Prepared for the Environmental Risk Management Authority

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