The Ministry of Primary industries is in its final consultation meetings in the South Island and is now calling for submissions* on the National Environmental Standards on Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) . The NES-PF has added a late clause that makes way for the introduction of GE trees once the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) releases them and prohibits Councils placing more stringent precuationary protections on GE in their regions.
New Zealand economic advantage relies on primary exports being clean, green and GE free. Rural communities are struggling depression and suicide  due to the economic downturn.
�The introduction of GE trees into the agricultural landscape threatens our export markets and will send rural communities further into a spiralling debt crisis affecting the whole of New Zealand,� said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ.
The EPA's new chief executive, Dr. Allan Freeth, is an avid supporter of all biotechnology and afraid of �missing the GE boat� placing him in a powerful position to influence the strategic direction the EPA. He will face severe pressure to approve GMO�s on his tenure and we hope he can steer a clear independent path, to avoid a conflict of interest with his strongly held GE beliefs.
�There is a prevailing strategy to embed business and biotech savvy pro-GE people in executive positions using revolving door appointments,� said Mrs. Bleakley
�Let's hope that Dr. Freeth will consider all science perspectives and taihoa on any move to take a chain saw to the GE terminology, Treaty and precautionary principles in the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO).
We are proud to still say New Zealand has not approved any commercial GE crops and is GE Free.
*Submissions to the National Environment Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) close on August 11.