Environmentalists critical of Nick Smith over GM policy

Former Green Party MP Steffan Browning has accused Environment Minister Nick Smith of wanting to bully the country into accepting GE plants into New Zealand “using bad law, unproven claims about productivity, and emotional spin on cancer treatment research.”

Browning (see HERE) was prompted to blog on the subject after TVNZ’s Sunday program reported the growers of organic apples and poultry producers were increasingly unhappy with Smith’s GE stance.

He contended:

Smith has been using unproven science on GE rye grass, and misleading claims about GE vaccine research to bolster his argument for radical new ministerial powers. The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill, currently in front of Parliament would allow Minister Smith to override Councils who choose to declare GE-free zones for their community’s environmental and economic wellbeing.

AgResearch’s genetically engineered (GE) forages (including ryegrass) program has already wasted millions of taxpayers’ money. If the grass was released into the environment, there’s a strong chance it would wreck New Zealand’s competitive GE Free advantage; and certainly reduce the billions of dollars of export potential in organic conversions. The supposed productivity boost of GE rye grass is not just unproven, but part of a succession of failed research targets and timelines over the last 20 years.

The Soil and Health Association last week expressed concerns too (see HERE)..

The Government seems hell-bent on denying the rights of communities to have GE-free zones, which are under threat from a ‘dictator clause’, says the Soil & Health Association.

“We are continuing to stand by all the communities around New Zealand who, quite rightly, want to have control over what happens with GMOs in their regions,” said Marion Thomson, chair of Soil & Health.

The previous day Parliament had heard the second reading of the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill, which contains proposals that would allow the Minister for the Environment  to strip councils of their ability to create GE-Free food producing zones.

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