PO Box 13402
Wellington, New Zealand

GE-Free New Zealand

in food and environment (RAGE Inc.)


Insurers Must Have Data to Cover GE Risks


The insurance industry must be provided with data on the risks to New Zealand's environment and Brand reputation before any more approvals of GE foods or field trials are allowed.

The New Zealand government and the biotechnology industry must work with the Insurance industry to determine what data is available and what research needs to be done before they will provide indemnity insurance.

Until the data-gap is identified and research funded in order to fill it, a moratorium must be re-introduced on applications for GE field-trials and GE food importation.

Local authorities are considering establishing GE-Exclusion Zones in response to current policy that leaves local ratepayers carrying the cost of clean-up. New Zealand farmers at risk of losing their unique marketing position in the world.

What is at stake is not just respect for widespread public support for GE-free agriculture, and the wish to conserve the country's environment. As if these were not enough, the future of major contributors to the economy including food exports and tourism are at risk and must be protected. This can best be done through prevention, but even then some sort of insurance cover may be needed.

"The world is turning to Branding - even for countries, and the New Zealand Brand is worth billions- probably tens of billions of dollars. It must be protected, and insurance is one way to do that," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

InterBrand - a US-based Brand valuation specialist has already identified the value of numerous Brands and has even published work on the Brand identity of countries like Spain and south Africa.

"We need to calculate the risk to our Brand and build it into decision making by ERMA and Food Authorities. If the insurance industry will not cover the costs of accidental harm from GE organisms and foods, then the moratorium should continue," says Mr Carapiet.

" What is clear is that current policy cannot stand. Forcing local authorities and ratepayers to subsidise the risks being taken by the commercial biotechnology industry is unethical and, given the potential damage to our national economy from GE contamination, unsustainable."
Jon Carapiet 0210507681


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