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9-Misc: New Zealand struggles about GE (1)

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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Hundreds take first steps in Hikoi towards a GE-Free Aotearoa /
        New Zealand
SOURCE: New Zealand GE Free Coalition
DATE:   September 29, 2001

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Hundreds take first steps in Hikoi towards a GE-Free Aotearoa /New Zealand

Hundreds of people are expected to come and support the start of the GE 
Free Land March in Kaitaia on Monday, 1 October at 10 am, as it begins its 
journey to Parliament.

The march, or Hikoi, has been organised with the support of the GE Free 
Coalition in Auckland, and will emphasise the concern amongst tangata 
whenua and all New Zealanders. The Hikoi will give people in rural areas an 
opportunity to join the growing GE-free movement and is calling for a 
complete ban on GE. "The implication of GE are horrific for Tangata Whenua, 
as they affect our Whakapapa and taonga. This is just another sign that our 
Mana is being trampled on by multi-national companies who have no respect 
for indigenous peoples" says organiser Kei Munro.

Concerned people from all over the country have shown their support for the 
Hikoi. For example, GE-Free food has been donated by organic growers and 
companies to feed the marchers.

"Collectively we all have the responsibility to protect this country and 
our future generations. We are the ancestors of the future, we are called 
to act for our children and our children's children." Says Mary Dwen for GE 
Free NZ.

While much of the distance will be walked by the whole group, some 
stretches will be covered by relay runners. Along the way the Hikoi will 
collect signatures on large banners from people opposing GE, which will be 
used to wrap the Auckland town hall and the Beehive.

"We are expecting to have enough signed banners to wrap the Beehive on the 
31 October" says Kane Forbes, one of the organisers.

The Hikoi will carry a specially made flag, the 'Tohu', on its way to 
Wellington. The Tohu symbolises the seeds of life . Ana Kerehoma 
Ripia(Ngati Kahunganu)was the artist who designed the artwork. The Tohu 
will be blessed at Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) on Sunday and carried to 
Kaitaia .

The Path of the Hikoi On Monday, the march will be making its way south on 
SH 1 via Mangamuka, Whakapara, Whangarei, Kaiwaka, and Orewa to arrive in 
Devonport -Auckland's North Shore- on the Friday 5 October.

Here the Tohu will be carried across the harbour by the Pupuke Moana Club. 
The waka flotilla will be leaving Devonport at 3 pm and arriving at the 
Viaduct at 4 pm and will be welcomed there.

On 6 October, the National Day of Action of the GE Free movement, the Hikoi 
will march from QE II Square at 11 am to join the wrapping of the Town Hall 
at noon.

On 7 October the GE Free Land March will continue south via Hamilton, 
Rotorua, Taupo, Palmerston North to Wellington.

Contact Kei Munro 445 1874, 
During the march: 025 604 5872


GE Free Land March

Tena koutou katoa He mihi nui, he mihi mahana ki a taatou e noho nei i 

The GE Free Land March is going to parliament to deliver a strong message 
for a GE free Aotearoa.

The government will soon announce its decision on genetic engineering. It 
may or may not decide to extend the voluntary moratorium on field trials 
past the end of October. In either case, that is not enough.

We want a completely GE free Aotearoa.

The tohu representing GE free Aotearoa will be blessed and then carried 
from Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) to Poneke (Wellington) by everyone 
supporting this kaupapa.

Whaea Dell Wihongi (Dame Awhina Cooper's niece) will be up the front, just 
like her auntie, leading us for a just cause - probably the most important 
cause of this century.

Here is what's going to happen:

October 1: The GE Free March starts in Kaitaia. It will make its way south 
through Mangamuka, Whakapara, Whangarei, Kaiwaka and Orewa

October 5: Orewa to Devonport, then across to the Auckland Viaduct. Meet us 
at the wharf in Devonport at 3 pm. The Tohu will by carried across by the 
Pupuke Moana Club Waka. Arriving at the Viaduct at 4 pm. Everyone with 
boats or kayaks is invited to join the Waka.

October 6: National Day of Action. The march assembles at QE II square 11 
am and walks up Queen Street and join the wrapping of the town hall in 
banners at noon.

October 7: The march leaves Tamaki Makaurau heading south to Pukekohe and 
then along SH 1 to Ngaruawahia and Hamilton, then via Rotorua to Taupo, 
Palmerston North and Otaki.

October 28: Celebration of the Anniversary of the Declaration of 
Independence in Otaki.

October 29: The march carries on to Porirua, and Poneke (Wellington).

October 31: The march ends at parliament building to wrap the beehive with 
the banners. Parliament will be sitting that day and we will deliver our 
message directly to the politicians.

Please come and join the march. Put on your walking shoes and walk with us. 
Make an event happen in your town as we pass through.

We need your support. We need fit runners to carry the tohu on some 
segments of the march. We also need transport for the elderly, first aid, 
marshals, food, and koha, all the way from cape to parliament.

Haere mai ! Tautoko mai !

For more details contact
Kei on (09) 445 1874, or
Marcus on (09) 361 2520, or 025 604 5872
or visit

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Open letter to government vom PSRG New Zealand
SOURCE: Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics (New Zealand)
DATE:   October 11, 2001

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from the Trustees, Members, Associate Members and Supporters of Physicians 
and Scientists for Responsible Genetics (New Zealand)

We, the undersigned scientists, recognise the Recommendations of the Royal 
Commission as a guide to proceeding, with due caution, in the use of 
genetic engineering. While the Commission's Report could not be, nor was it 
intended to be, a scientifically rigorous document, it offers certain 
strategic options which we feel it is valuable to take up. We believe it 
would be a serious error of judgement to conclude that the Commission's 
report is a definitive and authoritative assessment of all of the relevant 
scientific facts. The Warrant of the Commission was :

To receive representations upon, inquire into, investigate, and report upon 
the following matters:

the strategic options available to New Zealand to address, now and in the 
future, genetic modification, genetically modified organisms, and products;
and any changes considered desirable to the current legislative, 
regulatory, policy, or institutional arrangements for addressing, in New 
Zealand, genetic modification, genetically modified organisms, and products.

Thus, no scientific investigation or research into genetic modification was 
required by the CommissionŐs warrant.

(1) We support many of the Recommendations of the Royal Commission, 
particularly Recommendations 6.12, 6.14, 7.1, 7.2, 7.4, 14.1, 14..2 and 

(2) It is impossible to guarantee containment of pollen from GM plants in 
field trials and we have serious concerns about the possible environmental 
impact of genetically modified crops on New Zealand soil and ecosystems. We 
therefore welcome Recommendation 6.12 which states that the Environmental 
Risk Management Authority (ERMA) should require research on these impacts 
before release of genetically modified crops is approved; and 
Recommendation 7.1 which states that "prior to the release of any Bt-
modified crops, the appropriate agencies develop a strategy for the use of 
the Bt toxin in sprays and genetically modified plants."

(3) In the light of the above Recommendations we make the strongest 
possible recommendation that the moratorium on the release of any GMOs into 
the environment, both commercially and in open field trials, be extended so 
that the relevant research can be conducted.

(4) Consequently, we recommend that both Recommendations 6.12 and 7.1 
should be implemented retrospectively. In other words all applications for 
field trials of GMOs for which approval has already been granted should be 

(5) Recommendation 6.14, which states that "public research funding 
portfolios be resourced to include research on the socio-economic and 
ethical impacts of the release of genetically modified organisms," should 
also be implemented retrospectively in respect of all ERMA approved field 
trials. We suggest this should apply particularly to the ERMA approvals to 
conduct field-trials on GM-pine trees (GMF99001 and GMF99005), as approval 
for these was given without appropriate ecological and soil research by the 
forestry research organisations.

(6) Recommendation 7.4 states that "in connection with any proposal to 
develop genetically modified forest trees, an ecological assessment be 
required to determine the effects of the modification on the soil and 
environmental ecology, including effects on soil micro-organisms, 
weediness, insect and animal life, and biodiversity." This Recommendation 
should also be implemented retrospectively and ERMA should be required to 
insist that research, as envisaged in this Recommendation, be an integral 
and on-going component of undertaking any field-trials of this kind. The 
extended moratorium on conducting field trials could be used to address 
this consideration.

(7) We support Recommendation 14.1, that Section 68 of the HSNO Act be 
modified and that the establishment of a Bioethics Council (Recommendation 
14.2) together with a Parliamentary Commissioner on Biotechnology 
(Recommendation 14.3) be appointed.

(8) We strongly urge that any future committee or council be put together 
in a manner such that it is, and can be seen to be, truly representative, 
containing scientists who are able to offer an alternative view to the 
consensual view of governmental bodies, academic institutions and 
representatives of industry. To date this has been sadly lacking in such 
committees as the Independent Biotechnology Advisory Council (IBAC).

(9) We consider that patents on living processes, organisms, seeds, cell 
lines and genes should be not be allowed. Patents on life-forms and living 
processes threaten food security; they sanction biopiracy of indigenous 
knowledge (of Maori in the case of New Zealand) as well as genetic 
resources; they can violate basic human rights and dignity, compromise 
healthcare, impede medical and scientific research.

(10) We find no convincing evidence to date that GM crops offer any 
benefits to farmers or consumers. Instead, many problems have been 
identified, including yield drag, increased herbicide use, erratic 
performance, and poor economic returns to farmers. GM crops also intensify 
corporate monopoly on our food, which is marginalizing family farmers in 
several countries and preventing the essential shift to sustainable 
agriculture that can guarantee food security and health around the world.

(11) We consider there is a clear need for an independent, centrally funded 
and developed public education programme about genetic engineering. Had one 
existed prior to the hearings of the Royal Commission, public debate about 
the issues would have almost certainly been conducted at a much more 
sophisticated level, and community organizations would have been able to 
have ready access to up-to-date and unbiased factual information.

PSRG rejects the conclusion that continuing the moratorium on field trials 
and commercial releases of genetically modified organisms in New Zealand 
will have an adverse effect on truly scientific research. The over-emphasis 
of research funders on molecular biology to the detriment of other 
approaches has long been in need of re-adjustment in order to preserve the 
local knowledge base that has been developed over decades within New 
ZealandŐs academic and other publicly-funded research institutions. The 
exciting new developments in molecular genetics research must now be 
incorporated into a wider view of biological knowledge rather than being 
pursued as an exclusive goal, as has finally been acknowledged by the 
leaders of the Human Genome Project. By doing this, our country will 
continue to make important contributions to humanityŐs legacy of scientific 

SIGNED by the Trustees and Members of Physicians and Scientists for 
Responsible Genetics

Paul G Butler BHB, MB, ChB, FRNZCGP, General Practitioner Trustee PSRG 
John R Clearwater BSc, MSc, PhD, Principal Scientist, Clearwater Research 
and Consulting Trustee PSRG AUCKLAND
General Practitioner Trustee PSRG MURUPARA
Peter R Wills BSc, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Auckland Trustee 
Jean Anderson Businesswoman, Retired Trustee PSRG TAURANGA
Robert G Anderson BSc, PhD, Lecturer, Retired Trustee PSRG TAURANGA

Sigi Kirchmair Computer Consultant Associate Member PSRG Nelson


|                   GENET                     |
| European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering |
|                                             |
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|               Kleine Wiese 6                |
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