GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 31st  May 2005

NZ Shamed By Stance Against Liability for GMO's

New Zealand's stance against GM liability could destroy our reputation as an international voice for justice and as an honest broker amongst developing nations.

International anger at the New Zealand Government's stance at the Cartegna Protocol conference is well-justified and is shared by many New Zealanders.

There are good reasons for rejecting Marion Hobb's arguments for New Zealand to fight against the strict liability on GMO's that most of the world is demanding.

It is precisely the ability to learn from the history of "nuclear" and "chemical' contamination that demands we do not repeat the mistakes of the last century.

"Civil Society now recognise that we must not allow companies to profit from harmful technologies while the costs of damage are "socialised"," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

"Socialised" risk has little to do with the Labour Party's roots in a social equity but is a way of forcing taxpayers and citizens to subsidise companies even though most people do not even want GMO's imposed on them.

New Zealand has already been hit by costs amounting to millions of dollars as a result of contamination in imports. This is a major risk to our economy yet we are suggesting a system that would impose even more costs in the absence of strict liability.

It is shameful for New Zealand to be again disclosed as working against the international family of nations as we have done by supporting 'Terminator' seed technology and the US WTO law suit against Europe aimed at forcing acceptance of GE foods.

Why is our government ignoring the democratic will of the people? New Zealanders have made it clear that caution and "polluter pays" liability is a reasonable way to moderate the "genetic gold-rush".
The world-reaction to the New Zealand government's stance makes it likely the GM debate will be again be a factor in the upcoming election debate.

Jon Carapiet 0210 507 681

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