Beware of the GE man
We are two Australian conventional farmers from states which have allowed the commercial release of genetically engineered crops. We have been touring New Zealand describing our experiences since the commercial release of GE crops.
We saw great interest and concern by the vast majority of those we met about how the release of GE would affect New Zealand’s enviable reputation as a clean green producer of high quality food and fibre.
Your nation has a magnificent opportunity to learn from Australia’s lack of foresight.
Price penalties and market resistance have combined with very high seed and technology costs to disillusion many who adopted and promoted GE.
A major issue is the effect on nonGE and organic farmers. Coexistence has proven to be a fallacy as the GE material cannot be contained. Contamination by less than 1 per cent GE material exposes non-GE growers to liability issues, expenses and market issues.
While GE-free farmers suffer unfair costs and liabilities, the GE industry is financially rewarded for the inevitable contamination.
The reason key issues of concern were ignored in Australia is because governments and research sectors plan on profiting from farmers on their public research alliances with multinationals.
We urge New Zealand people to take genuine concerns seriously and not let the genetically modified industry take control of the debate and the outcomes. Beware the GE man bearing gifts, in our country he is not a good citizen. J Newman and B Mackley
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