Be­ware of the GE man

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

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

Aus­tralia (abridged)

Photo: BRYN LEN­NON/GETTY IM­AGES

Toko­roa shine: Fiona Southorn com­petes in the Women’s In­di­vid­ual C4-5 500m Cy­cling Time Trial Fi­nal on day three of the Lon­don 2012 Par­a­lympic Games.

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