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6-Regulation: Calls for GE-free Hawke's Bay (New Zealand) dismissed

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-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Calls for GE-free Bay dismissed
SOURCE: Hawkes Bay Today, New Zealand
DATE:   May 27, 2003

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Calls for GE-free Bay dismissed

Calls for a GE-free Hawke's Bay and guidelines to safeguard the region
from possible contamination were dismissed by members of the Hastings
District Council rural community board yesterday. Te Awanga resident Liz
Earth suggested Hawke's Bay should be declared GE-free from genetically
modified organisms such as food, crops, animals or insects. Hastings
resident Peter Volker headed a seven-signature submission recommending
the council set aside $25,000 for a committee to develop guidelines to
safeguard the Hastings district environment from the release of such
organisms. Board members agreed with council staff yesterday that
declaring Hastings GE-free would have no effect and could not be
enforced. Ms Earth said allowing genetically engineered organisms into
the region would have a negative economic, health and environmental
effect. Reports claimed GE crops could not safely co-exist with other
crops, she said. Ms Earth also criticised a proposed industry code for
buffer zones between GE and other crops. "Are we really expected to
believe there is a magic wall, hedge, ditch or no-fly zone that can
somehow protect the rest of the environment from GE contamination? "A bee
can fly 10 kilometres, pollen up to 33 kilometres and a bird can fly
wherever. And in the case of animal experiments, there is run-off into
the soil, waterways and aquifer." Mr Volker said the council had a role
to play in monitoring the release of GE organisms as a regulator of the
land. "Where is the liability placed for damages caused by GE releases,"
Mr Volker asked. Council staff said the Government was dealing with the
issue by research and legislation. A two-year moratorium on the release
of genetically modified organisms expires on October 29. The
Environmental Risk Management Authority could approve or decline
proposals to research, test, import or release genetically modified
organisms in New Zealand, staff said. Any member of the public could give
their views on any publicly notified application.


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