GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 26th  June 2005

Labour Will Ruin NZ's 'Clean Green' Image

GE Free NZ congratulate the Green party for their committment to keeping our agriculture and environment GE- Free which will guarantee our international reputation and exports for decades to come.

But there are growing fears that Labour party policy will undermine New Zealand's "Clean Green" Brand unless they too recognise the huge public support for environmental sustainabilty as part of New Zealand's future.

Recent moves by New Zealand representatives to block agreement on regulation of GM at international meetings have seen New Zealand accused of being there to further the interests of overseas countries. In Montreal international delegates held up signs saying "Shame on New Zealand" for blocking consensus on tracking and labelling live GE organisms.

Links to biotechnology investors in Iowa have been suggested as one of the reasons behind New Zealands's astonishing blocking tactics at the recent Cartegna Protocol Conference in Canada.

"There is grass-roots support throughout the community and within Labour that GE should not be allowed to threaten our the clean-green image. But the government burecaucracy is ignoring that, and are putting our brand reputation at risk," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

It is time to re-think the approach being taken to science by government to ensure the broader values of society are reflected. Over the last few days we have heard about the dismal state that Scientific Institutions are in, where scientists are not even able to assure their children that science is a viable career option.

The CRI model forced the independent institutions to build private public partnerships with biotechnology as their main business. In the case of Ag Research much funding went into developing Biotechnology with PPL. However when PPL went into bankcruptcy, after the failure of their biotech sheep, they also pulled funding from AgResearch, leaving them with a severe cash crisis.

It is a positive move that the Green Party are eschewing privatisation and bulkfunding of Institutions. Their policies stop the bleeding cuts and competition that cause a drag on development of ideas, and helps redirect funding into developing science on a sustainable, and ecologically sound basis.

"GE Free NZ are calling on government to commit to a science policy that enhances our clean-green reputation and makes it more of a reality, not less of a reality as their policies currently threaten to do," says Jon Carapiet.

Part of the investment in science must be to protect our GE Free, organic and conventional production systems from degredation and contamination.

It is wrong for the New Zealand government to be undermining our own investment is bio-security by blocking consensus for best-practice bio-security internationally.

Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842
Jon Carapiet 0210 507 681


NZ a front for Iowa Biotech?
GM WATCH daily ------ Most people at the recent Biosafety Protocol meeting in Montreal were completely mystified as to why New Zealand blocked the consensus that would have required proper labelling of international shipments of GM organisms, thus allowing in the words of one delegate, "global genetic pollution to escape unnoticed and unscathed". How was that in the interests of a country that wasn't even growing, let alone exporting, GM/GE crops? Many concluded that the only reasonable explanation was that NZ was acting as a US proxy. The evidence for this is piling up. Below are details of a biotech deal between NZ and Iowa, a state at the heart of the US farm belt. No state has been harder hit than Iowa by the controversy over GMOs, with even the Americans admitting they've lost hundreds of millions of dollars in blocked corn exports. And no state was harder hit by the 'Starlink' GM disaster which contaminated over 50% of Iowa's corn crop. In other words, no state has a greater interest in global genetic pollution escaping "unnoticed and unscathed" and NZ, it seems, is desperate to curry favour with its business partner - no matter what the global cost. For more on what happened in Montreal: ------ Iowa makes 'unique' biotech agreement with New Zealand By DONNELLE ELLER REGISTER BUSINESS WRITER June 22, 2005 Iowa and New Zealand have signed an agreement that will expand business and academic exchanges - and opportunities - between the state and country, Gov. Tom Vilsack said Tuesday. Vilsack, who attended the Biotechnology Industry Organization conference in Philadelphia, said the agreement will encourage academic exchanges between New Zealand and Iowa, particularly in plant, animal and human sciences. Iowa is a leader in developing bio-based energy, such as ethanol and biodiesel, and has academic strengths in developing pharmaceuticals, chemicals and other biotech products. In the next year, Vilsack said, Iowa could see investment from companies in New Zealand interested in establishing a U.S. presence. The agreement is a result of discussions and trips between Iowa and New Zealand officials that began two years ago. Vilsack said New Zealand is a good partner for Iowa because of shared "core competencies," particularly in agriculture. The two partners also plan to co-sponsor events at next year's BIO conference, an annual meeting of thousands of biotech scientists, business leaders and government officials. Iowa traditionally hosts the conference's final reception, this year at the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal - Pier One. Michael Blouin, director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, said the "unique agreement" with New Zealand helps raise Iowa's growing reputation in the biotechnology community. ENDS

Greens maintain commitment to keeping NZ GE-Free
GE is still in the lab and keeping it there will continue to be a priority for the Greens in the next Parliament, says Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.
“There is one aspect of the Greens’ Environment Policy announced today that is not new - we remain committed to keeping New Zealand’s environment GE-Free.
“Happily, the Greens and the GE-Free Movement have so far succeeded in keeping living GE organisms ‘in the lab’. We take credit, along with the rest of the movement, for the fact that NZ's first proposed release, in 1999, was withdrawn and there have been none since. This has given us a breathing space and time to reflect on the damage GE crops could do to our economy.
“Despite the lifting of the legal GE Moratorium in October 2003, there has still been no release of Genetically Modified Organisms. There haven’t even been any applications.
“The Greens have kept the promise we made in 2002 and not voted confidence and supply for the Labour-led Government during this term because of its unwise and short-sighted lifting of the GE Moratorium.
“The Moratorium is now history, so by definition, its continuation cannot be a ‘bottom line’ for us going into this election or subsequent negotiations. But both the Labour Party and the public should be under no illusion - maintaining New Zealand’s GE-Free status is a high priority for the Greens in any coalition or support talks after the election,” says Ms Fitzsimons.
Environment Policy Summary Policy highlights:
Genetic Engineering
· Maintain NZ’s current GE Free environment and food production - no release of GE organisms outside a contained laboratory

. See the full policy at:


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