Protecting GE-Free Advantage Makes Economic Sense For New Zealand

There is growing political consensus that keeping New Zealand a GE-free country for food production is important for economic and environmental security.

28/08/2017 GE FREE NZ Media release

Protecting GE-Free Advantage Makes Economic Sense For New Zealand

There is growing political consensus that keeping New Zealand a GE-free country for food production is important for economic and environmental security.

The Science Media Centre [1] has released the results of its 2017 survey on political party views regarding genetic modification.

Although there is no moratorium on release of GMOs approved by the EPA, the failures of GE technologies experienced overseas and the export demand for GE-free food has meant no application for release in New Zealand.

The survey asked political parties if it was time to lift the moratorium on the release of GMO’s.

The Greens do not support the release of GMO’s to the environment or in our food. They do support the laboratory-contained research and comprehensive labeling of foods containing GMO’s. They also would maintain a “zero” tolerance for imported viable GE seeds. [2]

The Labour Party will maintain the status quo on GE release leaving it to the Environmental Protection Authority to decide. It also supports Councils' democratic right to declare GE free regions. Labour also supported the labeling of GE foods approved by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) a trans Tasman body [3]

The Maori Party support the ability of regions to declare themselves as GE-free; they also support regions' ability to lift or place moratoria on any release of GMO’s in their rohe. They also support iwi trading for specialist kai and organic GE Free kai production. [4]

New Zealand First approach stated on their website to GM/GE is to proceed with extreme caution, and only under secure confined laboratory conditions.

National stated that it was the decision of the Environmental Protection Agency. National would monitor rules on GMOs and adapt legislation to international developments. Nick Smith tried to implement legislation that aimed to stop communities from protecting their regional economies and marketing themselves as GE-free. National Party would appear to support the release of GE crops.

The ACT Party supports the commercial release of genetically modified organisms into the Environment, but also respects the rights for regions to set GE-free policies. ACT does not state if it supports holding users of GMOs liable for damage.

The TOP party did not answer the question about the lifting of the moratorium on release of GM crops but could not see a predator free NZ without genetic modification.

“GE-Free NZ members are pleased to see that there is a growing consensus across environmentally concerned parties in favour of policies that would not permit the open release of GMOs in New Zealand," said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-Free NZ.

"They recognize the economic advantages that our GE-free status bring New Zealand”.

"There is, however, still a significant risk from short term thinking in some major political parties that threatens the integrity and market advantage of Brand New Zealand."

The negative experience of commercial release of GMOs overseas shows New Zealand's GE-free policy is an advantage that will only grow in international appeal in high value export markets over coming years.

References:

[1] https://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/2017/08/24/election2017/
[2] https://www.greens.org.nz/page/agriculture-and-rural-affairs-policy-0
[3] http://www.labour.org.nz/hard_won_agreement_shouldn_t_be_thrown_away
[4] http://www.maoriparty.org/m_ori_party_continue_to_support_ge_free_stance
[5] http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/primary_industries

ENDS:
Jon Carapiet 021 050 7681
Claire Bleakley 06 308 9842 / 027

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