GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 14th February 2005

Minister Must Reject Unethical Research on Terminator Seeds or Resign

Comments from The Minister of the Environment supporting research on Terminator technology shows the New Zealand government is willing to force its moral values on the rest of the world and lacks an ethical framework for its policy.
At the same time the Minister's excuses that Terminator should proceed "case by case" shows she and her advisors have become removed from civil societal values that the rest of the international community holds.

GE Free NZ (in food and environment) are calling on the Minister to unequivocally support international agreement for a moratorium on trials of Terminator genes in food. If the Minister cannot support a moratorium on Terminator seeds and show respect for the international community she must resign. Marian Hobbs claims the international community's call for the ethics of Terminator research to be discussed
before allowing trials are "premature".

On the contrary: it is her attempt to push ahead with such trials that are premature. She has seriously misjudged the depth of local and international concern on this issue. "It's like New Zealand supporting nuclear testing in the atmosphere on a case by case basis and forcing it on the rest of the world," says Jon Carapiet of GE Free New Zealand in food and environment.

New Zealand will be seen as 'wreckers' at the conference in Bangkok where our representatives were involved in the Canadian-led plan to scupper the agreement for a moratorium which will allow the ethical and social threats of Terminator seeds- especially in food - to be assessed.

The New Zealand government mustexpect widespread international protest for our stance at the conference even though the attempt appears to have stalled. "The Terminator seed concept raised terror in the public consciousness when proposed in the 1990's and even the biotechnology industry said it would stop," says Mr. Carapiet.

Now a New Zealand Minister is foisting her own inadequate moral judgements on the rest of the world." GE Free NZ has also called on the Prime Minister and other cabinet-members to intervene to ensure New Zealand respects international efforts to understand the social, cultural and ethical issues of the Terminator gene before the research proceeds.

If the Minister is so blinded by her obsession with forcing this particular scientific experiment on the international community, she must step down. "Humanity has the right to pause at the threshold and ask the big questions -not just blunder in," says Mr Carapiet.

Jon Carapiet 021 050 7681

REFERENCE: The Ministers Press Statement:


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