GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 1st  June 2005

Labour Re-discovers 'Socialism' at International Conference

The Labour Party and Minister Marian Hobbs appear to have briefly rediscoverd "socialism" - in allowing New Zealand delegates at international conference to play a "spoiler " role in the debate on GE liabilty.

The NZ delegates push to effectively "socialise" risk of GE organisms on the public of other countries, ( just as the HSNO Act does here), was reportedly met with shocked laughter at the Montreal conference to discuss liabilty under the Cartegna Protocol.

Fears that New Zealand had signed up to the protocol to deliberately play a destructive role on behalf of vested interests seeking to avoid liability, appear to be well-founded.

"It is sad that instead of working with the people of other countries New Zealand has now become merely a proxy for big business wanting to socialise risk as a susbsidy for industry," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

The nuclear industry has been subsidised for decades by the public and now the New Zealand government is advocating to do the same with GE and biotechnology.

"Socialised risk" may be the only remaining facet of the Labour Party's socialist roots but it threatens the wellbeing of our economy. We are reliant on our reputation for supplying clean, GE-free foods to the world, but under the government's plans liabilty for damage to that reputation will not be placed squarely on those who have caused it.

The proposed 'socialised' risk' approach is a betrayal of the New Zealand public and a deliberate attempt to ignore the lessons from the last fifty years that have shown the downside and hidden costs of chemicals and nuclear technology.

GE Free NZ are calling for the Government to immediately change their policy on this issue or for the Minister to resign.

What part of 'learning from History and past mistakes' does the Minister not understand?


Jon Carapiet 0210 507 681


1.Summaries of the full discussions at the Montreal conference on liability provisions for the Cartagena Protocol can be viewed at:

The exchange referred to occurred on Thursday 26 May see bottom of the notes for that day.

2. The reference in the statement to "instrument" is to one of the following 5 options that were already on the table for the form of agreement that
would ultimately specify liability provisions under Cartagena. They are:

1. Legally binding agreement

2. Legally binding agreement plus interim measures

3. Non-binding agreement

4. Two stage - non-binding, then binding agreement

5. Combination of non-binding and binding agreement

Foreign Affairs had a sixth one added to the list no instrument.

3. The negotiations are driven by Article 27 of the Cartagena Protocol which implicitly covers all forms of damage, including economic harm, and

"Liability and Redress: The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Protocol shall, at its first meeting, adopt a
process with respect to the appropriate elaboration of international rules and procedures in the field of liability and redress for damage resulting
from transboundary movements of living modified organisms, analysing and taking due account of the ongoing processes in international law on these
matters, and shall endeavour to complete this process within four years."

The full text of the agreement is available at


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