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Govt opening door to terminator seed technology says Tanczos

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The Government is doing the opposite to what it is saying in international negotiations which feature terminator gene technology, Greens Environment Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos says.

"Last night Environment Minister David Benson-Pope said the Government did not support the use of genetic technology which would disadvantage subsistence farmers in developing countries," Mr Tanczos says. "But that is exactly the stance our officials are taking overseas.

"It is like saying you don't support drink driving while lifting the blood alcohol limit. New Zealand is prying open the door and GE companies are waiting to exploit the opportunity.
"The argument the Minister puts forward for our position - that we might want to consider technology that sterilizes possums, for example - is spurious. That would not be a GURT (Genetic Use Restriction Technology) and so is not relevant to this discussion. It is just an attempt to sow misinformation.

"The reality is that if New Zealand along with Canada and Australia, manage to push through the amendment this week, biotech seed companies will simply do their dirty work in countries with the least restrictive regulations and the least capacity to monitor trials. The large number of examples of cross contamination in other forms of GE suggest that it is very likely that farmers in those countries and elsewhere will be put at risk."

New Zealand must clearly and strongly push for a total ban on terminator technology. It is not acceptable to stand against the bulk of international opinion and put poor and subsistence farmers at risk for something which will benefit only multinational seed companies, Mr Tanczos says.

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