GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 15th September 2003

Public view considered unimportant by government and regulatory agencies. Industry lobby rules GE policy.

Over 95% of the 10,000 submissions received by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into GM raised serious concerns over genetic engineering, yet many submitters were refused their requests to speak to their submissions. 

The final report showed that information received after the process and during the preparation may well have been inaccurate and deliberately false. In one such case (Chapter 4 L-Tryptophan) there is no worldwide documentation to support the findings in the final paragraph. 

The Royal Commission report did not reflect the scientific findings presented to them, and at the time it was held there was virtually no research into risk effects, either completed or published. The Commission did however recognise that there were wide gaps in knowledge. 

Research is now being addressed with  the assistance of FoRST funding but results will take another 5 years to complete and still no health studies have been commissioned. William Rolleston of the Life Science Network recently referred to GE Free proponents saying, "In many cases they stood aside from the democratic process and now want to force their unacceptable ideas on the rest of us".

Claire Bleakley of GE Free New Zealand in Food and Environment stated " We have been making submissions to ERMA and FSANZ for over 5 years now, most submission processes indicate that 99% of submitters are opposed to the GE applications, yet they are consistently ignored. It appears any that a lack of industry participation in the submission process may be due, as in the UK, to the fact that most of the advisors to GE policy have links to the GE industry". 

GE Free New Zealand in Food and Environment call on Government to declare what advice they are receiving and from whom. How many advisors and politicians are linked to the GE industry? How many times have government been lobbied by biotech and pharmaceutical company representatives? The government and their regulatory agencies have refused representation from the GE Free coalition to discuss GE policy, yet have apparently been readily open to advice from others, on serious issues of importance to New Zealand agriculture, such as Novartis in relation to the Corngate fiasco? 

“The majority of the public are against the use of GE in food and our environment and have been poorly consulted, despite the use of their taxes to support this controversial technology. A lack of proper media discussion of the issues, until extremely recently, has also ensured the public have been kept in the dark.”  

Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842

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