The future of New Zealand抯 exports is at risk from the push by Federated Farmers leaders for New Zealand to follow Argentina and release GMOs.
After a visit to Argentina, Federated Farmers vice-president William Rolleston told Straight Furrow (1) that he wants to see New Zealand open the door to GE in agriculture.
Federated Farmers' grain and seed chairman Ian Mackenzie backed this stance and accused consumers of hypocrisy by unknowingly consuming unlabeled GE products.
Dr. Rolleston repeated the industry line that GMOs increase production 'to feed the world', and benefit the environment, despite real world evidence that the opposite is true. (2), (3).
Dr. Rolleston's claims contradict the U.N's science-based International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) (4) which says other mixed approaches to agriculture, not GE monocultures, are needed to feed future generations.
Dr. Rolleston's vision for GE also contradicts the need for greater sustainability and reduced consumption of meat that has been called for in the latest climate change report of the ICCP (5).
Instead of feeding the world, GE crops are used as animal feed where they do not have to be labelled and are hidden from consumers.
Federated Farmers has supported importation into New Zealand of GE feed for dairy cows and for other products like chicken and eggs, which undermines the integrity of the New Zealand food system and export reputation.
Dr. Rolleston said he was promoting his agenda so farmers know this before he stands for the position of President.
"This agenda to push GE into New Zealand is a threat to our unique reputation for clean, safe, world-class quality food," said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-free NZ in food and environment.
New Zealand farmers already achieve premiums for non-GM food products.
In a backlash to Dr. Rolleston's agenda, comments made online in response to his article show that he is not representing the views of most people, and is hiding the negative impacts of GE in Argentina and elsewhere.
The comprehensive review of the history of GM by the McGuiness Institute identified strong grounds for a moratorium on release of GM/GE organisms.
India's Supreme Court appointed a Technical Expert Panel which has also backed an indefinite moratorium on GMO release in India (7).
2) Failure to Yield http://www.gefree.org.nz/assets/failure-to-yield.pdf
3) Pesticide illness triggers anti-Monsanto protest in Argentina http://www.dw.de/pesticide-illness-triggers-anti-monsanto-protest-in-argentina/a-17013525
4) Agriculture at a crossroads http://www.gefree.org.nz/assets/pdf/agriculture-at-a-crossroadssynthesis-report-english.pdf
5) Food Security and Food production Systems http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap7_FGDall.pdf
6) An Overview of Genetic Modification in New Zealand 1973-2013: The first forty years http://mcguinnessinstitute.org/Site/Publications/Project_Reports.aspx
CONTACTJon Carapiet - Nationals Spokesman 0210507681
Claire Bleakley - President 0273486731