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GM lobby can butt out

Written By: - Date published: 10:22 am, September 5th, 2012 - 53 comments
Categories: farming, food, leadership, science - Tags:

Genetically modified (GM) food is a contentious issue worldwide. Personally I’m not as opposed to GM as many on the left, but I think that there are perfectly good reasons that NZ as a country should remain GM free. And we should certainly stand up and say so in the face of inept and blatant lobbying like this:

GM panel warns NZ it could miss bus

New Zealand has been issued an ultimatum by GM heavyweights – change our tune on genetically modified food or watch our exporting lifeblood lag behind the rest of the world.

Or watch our exporting lifeblood soar as we provide to big anti-GM market segments.

The warning was delivered yesterday by a high-powered panel including the US Government’s bio-tech trade envoy and the vice-president of US giant DuPont Agricultural Biotechnology.

The panel pitched crop-enhancing bio-technology as the world’s best hope of feeding a population expected to double by 2050 – and said that if New Zealand failed to buy in, our crops could become quickly out-dated.

Yes, American agri-business would love to get us dependent on their products for our food production. And that makes sense how? Piss off.

But Jack Bobo, a senior adviser for biotechnology to the US State Department, claimed not doing so could hurt us. “New Zealand has a choice – will it continue to meet its own needs and the needs of others, or will it slowly become a net importer of foods?

And at that point I had a good laugh and stopped paying attention. NZ a “net importer of foods”? You need to make your threats just a tiny bit believable guys.

Organic NZ spokeswoman Debbie Stanwick dismissed the panel’s warning as “scaremongering, especially when most of the world’s leading trading partners, such as China, have already legislated to protect their own crops from GE”.

End of story.

53 comments on “GM lobby can butt out”

  1. tc 1

    ‘Or watch our exporting lifeblood soar as we provide to big anti-GM market segments ‘ you’ve nailed it, we got the isolation and environment to be very successful in this segment.

    Premium niche product getting the margins, like our top end wine does, with plenty of markets. Once people wake up to the poor nutritional and other factors (chemicals etc) this segment will boom.

    Boss (S1, E5 I think) had a swipe at it in an episode with a farmer standing in his destitute fields as the seeds don’t propogate forcing them back each season to purchase from the only provider, Monsanto I believe. The politicians response was honest and sad.

  2. Jared 2

    You are under the assumption that GE is only beneficial for business and is detrimental to society and the environment. This is wrong. Unfortunately Agribusiness like Monsanto have used GE appallingly and created a stigma against it. There is nothing wrong with the technology only how it is employed.

    Would you be surprised to learn that diabetics are still alive today because of GE? 30 years ago the increasing numbers of diabetics almost depleted the world supply of insulin. Insulin used to be derived from pigs, but this was problematic since some people were allergic to it and it also carried viruses from pigs to humans. Then scientists engineered a E. coli bacterium which secretes human insulin and viola! Mass produced insulin with no side-effects. This has been going on for 30 years.

    Also, GE technology is being used to make “Golden rice”, which contains Beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is the precursor to vitamin A. In the third world child blindness is a major problem because of the lack of vitamin A which is required for sight. By making golden rice, and easily grown staple with beta-carotene in it, scientists hope to help prevent blindness from developing from a lack of vitamin A.

    These are two examples of how GE has been used properly. I think we can use GE to our advantage, and anyone who thinks it is unhealthy or unnatural obviously has no knowledge of the science behind it.

    In the future GE may become necessary to develop crops which can withstand climate change… I wouldn’t be so ready to dismiss it.

    • r0b 2.1

      Would you be surprised to learn that diabetics are still alive today because of GE?

      I wouldn’t be surprised at all. As per the original post, I am not universally opposed to GM. I’m quite happy to take it on a case by case basis. But in the case of NZ agriculture I think that any large scale move to GM crops should be resisted.

    • Lanthanide 2.2

      Bacteria producing a specific medicine is quite different from crops with increased resistance to herbicides that allows farmers to spray more herbicides on the crops to kill off the weeds.

      • Jim Nald 2.2.1

        Indeed. GE/GM medicine or laboratory-produced and controlled pharmaceutical is one thing and GE/GM food, crop or agriculture is quite another thing.

        Tell the globally corporatised GM food lobby to keep their greedy fingers off our food production and distribution.

        They ran the line more than a decade ago that GM food would feed the poor and hungry around the world. But then they got shown up for, putting it politely, being quite contradictory. They have been driving for world domination and super-profiteering by wanting to push technologies like terminator or suicide seeds down our throats and GM merchants such as Monsanto have been trying to make people stomach their so-called “non-toxic” Roundup weed spray.

        Post-script: Having said that, the practices of the Big Pharma industry have been questionable enough, revealing damning track record in the court of law, and pharmas do not need any more help to be further tainted by associating with the GM food lobby.

      • insider 2.2.2

        We have been getting that resistance through selective breeding for thousands of years. GE is not a requirement, so it’s not helpful to connect the two as if it were.

        I’m not sure I see an inherent difference in creating a GM product that people inject into their bloodstream and creating a GM product that people chew and swallow. Can you point it out for me?

      • blue leopard 2.2.3

        Yes, the distinction between the development of medicine and food need to be made very clear.

        “Insertion of genes into the genome can also result in unintended effects, which need to be reduced/eliminated by selection, SINCE SOME OF THE WAYS THE INSERTED GENES EXPRESS THEMSELVES IN THE HOST OR THE WAY THEY AFFECT THE FUNCTIONING OF THE CROP’S OWN GENES ARE UNPREDICTABLE. This may lead to the development of unknown toxic/allergenic components, WHICH WE CANNOT ANALYZE for and seriously limiting the selection criteria. Current testing methods need radical improvements.”

        http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotech/pusztai.html

        It is a cowboy mentality to proceed with the introduction GM modified crops into our food chain without the ability to test for the toxicity of this technology.

    • weka 2.3

      Golden rice isn’t an example of appropriate technology. It’s an example of hiding the stupid, as well as justifying western greed by using non-western poverty. 

      Have a look at this picture.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vitamin_A_deficiency.PNG

      Notice how India features? That’s the country that’s fighting agribusiness for the rights to grow its own multiple varieties of rice and other grains. That’s right, agribusiness is undermining the ability of local people to grow their own food. 

      Vandana Shiva, an Indian anti-GMO activist, argued the problem was not that the crop had any particular deficiencies, but that there were potential problems with poverty and loss of biodiversity in food crops. These problems are aggravated by the corporate control of agriculture based on genetically modified foods. By focusing on a narrow problem (vitamin A deficiency), Shiva argued, the golden rice proponents were obscuring the larger issue of a lack of broad availability of diverse and nutritionally adequate sources of food. Other groups have argued a varied diet containing foods rich in beta carotene such as sweet potatoleafy green vegetables and fruit would provide children with sufficient vitamin A. However Professor West (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) has argued that foodstuffs containing Vitamin A are either unavailable, or only available at certain seasons, or that they are too expensive for most poor families in underdeveloped countries.
       

      Because of lacking real-world studies and uncertainty about how many people will use golden rice, WHO malnutrition expert Francesco Branca concludes “giving out supplements, fortifying existing foods with vitamin A, and teaching people to grow carrots or certain leafy vegetables are, for now, more promising ways to fight the problem”.
       
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_rice 

    • Clashman 2.4

      GM crops have largely been, at best a dissapointment, at worst a disaster. There are a myriad of reasons NOT to go down this path, economic, enviromental and social.

      “Farmers in South Africa have suffered millions of dollars in lost income due to the failure of their genetically modified (GMO) corn to produce kernels. The three varieties of plants look lush and healthy from the outside, but when the husks were pulled back there are no kernels. Monsanto’s GMO corn was planted on 82,000 hectares of farmland, an amount that equals over 202,000 acres.”

      Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/025992_Monsanto_food_GMO.html#ixzz25YMFAPWg

      “soya growers in Argentina and Brazil have been found to use twice as much herbicide on their GM as they do on conventional crops, and a survey by Navdanya International, in India, showed that pesticide use increased 13-fold since Bt cotton was introduced.”

      “Ten common weeds have now developed resistance in at least 22 US states, with about 6m hectares (15m acres) of soya, cotton and corn now affected.”
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/oct/19/gm-crops-insecurity-superweeds-pesticides

      “Industry figures confirm GM food is a commercial flop in Europe”
      “Widespread public opposition and environmental concerns expressed by several European governments, scientists and farmers have made GM food a commercial flop in Europe,”
      http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/en/News/2012/GM-figures/

      Ill stop here but lets face it, I could list page after page after page of these sort of reports.
      Maybe in the future when (if) all the problems have been overcome we can look at it, but not now.
      Its a genie that is very difficult, if not impossible, to put back in it’s bottle once released.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.4.1

        …and a survey by Navdanya International, in India, showed that pesticide use increased 13-fold since Bt cotton was introduced.”

        Interesting considering this article in the Guardian:

        Bt cotton is one type and now makes up 95% of China’s vast plantations. Since its introduction in 1997, pesticide use has halved and the study showed this led to a doubling of natural insect predators such as ladybirds, lacewings and spiders. These killed pests not targeted by the Bt cotton, in cotton fields, but also in conventional corn, soybean and peanut fields.

        Of course, it’s entirely possible that not killing all insects with pesticides would have resulted in the same benefits without the GE. As I say, Nature been doing this a lot longer than we have and is a hell of a lot better at it.

        • Clashman 2.4.1.1

          Yep initially pesticide use will drop but…
          “Over time, scientists have learned, initially rare genetic mutations that confer resistance to Bt toxins are becoming more common as a growing number of pest populations adapt to Bt crops.”
          http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620133359.htm

          “Rootworms from several fields were collected, and their larvae, reared in the laboratory, were introduced to Bt maize. Turns out that the larvae whose parents came from fields with a longer history of growing Cry3Bb1 maize exhibited a higher survival. In fact, the survival correlated nicely with the number of consecutive growing seasons of this type of maize”
          http://www.science20.com/curious_cub/resistance_gm_crops-81313

    • mike 2.5

      Comparing the safety and effectiveness of insulin made in a lab for diabetics, with the safety and effectiveness of allowing biotech corporations to genetically modify crops, the food supply of a population, makes no sense.

      Do biologists have perfect knowledge? No. Can anyone foresee all of the unintended consequences which might result from GE foods at all stages from production to long term health? No. Can anyone fully understand and predict the unintended consequences of interactions between these crops and other species in the eco-system? No. Do profit-driven multi-national corporations have a documented history of lying about the safety of their products? And of using fear and scare tactics to sell products that people don’t need? Yes and yes.

      Is the above a good enough reason to err on the side of caution and extend a big fat f*ck off middle finger to the US Government’s bio-tech trade envoy and the vice-president of US giant DuPont Agricultural Biotechnology when they fly over to our country to give us a buy in to our irreversible product, which is making your food obsolete, or die scaremongering ultimatum talk?

      Yes Jared, it really is.

      • mike 2.5.1

        “…give us a ‘buy in to our irreversible product, which is making your food obsolete, or die’ scaremongering ultimatum talk?”

        That sentence was not very clear, maybe the above will clarify.

  3. Dv 3

    >>These are two examples of how GE has been used properly. I think we can use GE to our advantage, and anyone who thinks it is unhealthy or unnatural obviously has no knowledge of the science behind it.

    BUT the problem is you cant trust them!!!

    • Jared 3.1

      How exactly? Where do you get your information to come to a conclusion that you can’t trust GE?

      If you base it entirely on Monsanto then you have a point, they are corrupt and have ruined GE tech.

      However, you rely on technology derived from science so at what point do you draw the line to say “I don’t trust this”? My experience is that people will only say that when they do not directly benefit from it. Example: Cars are a huge source of pollution, and are wholly unnatural things. Yet we quite happily use them and accept them because they benefit us, but they are more damaging that any GE tech.

      • Dv 3.1.1

        Jared It is not GE i don’t trust, it is the spin and manipulation by the big companies such as Monsanto as you elaborated.

        I was not clear I agree.

    • kiwi_prometheus 3.2

      “anyone who thinks it is unhealthy or unnatural obviously has no knowledge of the science behind it.”

      Remember when nuclear energy was the promise of infinite clean cheap energy forever and ever?

      Or when thalidomide was a wonderful new drug that cured mum’s morning sickness?

      Genetic engineering of food production is in the interest of the likes of Monsato. What are all the consequences going to be of smashing down the genetic evolutionary barriers between species genera, kingdoms and domains? Can the scientists really be so sure its all so fantastic.

      There’s too many human beings, 10 billion coming up. We need to depopulate fast. But all the scientists want to do is find ways of producing more food, thereby encouraging further overcrowding on this rock.

      • Jared 3.2.1

        And yet Nuclear technology continues to evolve, have you read about Liquid thorium reactors? Or nuclear fusion.

        Your examples are valid but you neglect to mention the successes of technology, like vaccination. Without it we would still have Polio and Smallpox. If you focus on mistakes you forget all the good.

        “Genetic evolutionary barriers”. You do realize there is no such thing. DNA is a promiscuous mistress. DNA is the same in all organisms, be it plant, fungi, bacteria or human. DNA is shared between different bacterial species all the time, as well as between plants and fungi, fungi and bacteria…this list goes on. The human genome is FULL of viral DNA, over 10% of the whole human genome is viral in origin. o\One of the genes controlling placenta formation “ERVWE1” is actually viral in origin, but was incorporated into the human genome eons ago.

        • kiwi_prometheus 3.2.1.1

          “DNA is shared between different bacterial species all the time, as well as between plants and fungi, fungi and bacteria…this list goes on.”

          What, like taking a “glow in the dark” bit of jelly fish DNA and sticking it in other critters and plants to make them glow?

          I don’t think so. What scientists are doing is way way beyond what happens through nature.

          “incorporated into the human genome eons ago.”

          Yeah, exactly, over gazillions of years of evolution. Not a scientist chucking it altogether like a tossed salad, on a boring Sunday afternoon.

          “If you focus on mistakes you forget all the good.”

          The problem is the exact opposite, the mistakes are erased from memory in our technocratic civilization, to be repeated again and again.

          Can you remember, Jared, a grinning Ronald Reagan proclaiming that “Progress is our best product!”.

      • mike e 3.2.2

        Don’t worry some sort of disease will wipe us out and only the genetially modified will survive

        • kiwi_prometheus 3.2.2.1

          Yeah like that SARS in the lab – they made it an air born variation as research “to see how it might mutate”.

    • Clashman 4.1

      We produce enough food for the planet now, its politics that causes famines not a lack of food.
      The claim in the Herald article that we need GM crops because the global population will double by 2050 is actually laughable, food is going to be the least of our problems if we get to 12billion people.

      • weka 4.1.1

        Or if we get to 2050.

      • blue leopard 4.1.2

        @ Clashman

        “We produce enough food for the planet now”

        Absolutely, and it makes my blood boil that the pitch that promote-GM-food-industry STILL
        includes the fallacious argument: “the world’s best hope of feeding a population expected to double by 2050” What bollocks!

        I had thought that this argument regarding GM and “providing food for the starving” was well discredited 20-30years ago when the last round of promotion was evident in our country.

        The first 2 sentences of WFP “Causes of Hunger” page:

        1. “Food has never before existed in such abundance, so why are 925 million people in the world going hungry?”
        2. “In purely quantitative terms, there is enough food available to feed the entire global population of 7 billion people. ”

        http://www.wfp.org/hunger/causes

        One would hope that the population were well aware of the simple fact that Clashman relays by now.

  4. blue leopard 5

    Interesting to note the incredible DOUBLE STANDARDS when comparing the topic that Penny Bright introduced to Open Mike yesterday regarding a hospital refusing high-dose intravenous treatment of Vitamin C on patients’ requests and this issue regarding GM FOOD.

    One standard disallows a treatment that is highly likely do no harm at the very worst, yet could improve health for the patient. Information available indicates that some people have benefitted from the treatment in the very hospital that is refusing it. I take it this is based on the understanding that this treatment has not gone through rigorous scientific tests that prove that it has more than a placebo effect.

    The other standard allows the introduction of food that has an entirely new constitution prior to rigorous scientific tests being developed that can test for whether this food is introducing new toxins into our food chain. The issue regarding testing for this toxicity is very very complex-not only involving direct toxicity, also involving the potential toxicity of the combined effect of the added constituent with every other constituent of the food product.

    This move to allow such into our food chain is nothing more than a cowboy approach that I thoroughly disapprove of. It is highly immoral.

  5. Murray Olsen 6

    The way genetic engineering of food plants happens, I can’t see it as anything but an attempt to control the world food supply. Imposing terminator seeds on a population which lives by subsistence agriculture, such as in large parts of the 3rd world, is an absolute obscenity. The corporates have largely achieved control of energy, they’re trying with water and education, they control the financial system and communications networks already. We’d have to be idiots to give them control over our food supply, which is exactly why NAct will fight tooth and nail to do it.

    • blue leopard 6.1

      I view it as the inevitable unthought-out consequences of the ad hoc system we have developed which encourages monetary profit and the pursuit of narrow self interest to be the guiding forces of our system and society.

      It is yet another symptom of money-which is meant to be the servant-becoming the master.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      We’d have to be idiots to give them control over our food supply, which is exactly why NAct will fight tooth and nail to do it.

      QFT.

    • Clashman 6.3

      That’s the ultimate goal Murray.

  6. feijoa 7

    Absolutely. This is not about feeding the world. It is about money, and Agribusiness OWNS the genome of these things.
    We shouldn’t touch the stuff

  7. yeshe 8

    I’ve said it here before, and repeat it again — best we beware the hidden terms of the TPP. We may need to call again upon the perfection of Te Tiriti to save us.

    Weeds in USA are now so resistant to the oceans of Roundup used on food crops, the use of — get this Kiwis — the widespread use of 2 4 D has now been approved for use on food crops in USA due to failures with Roundup !! Yes, 2 4 D. And the D stands for Dioxin. Simply unbelievable what these agri-chemical companies will foist upon our fragile planet. And millions and millions of acres of once-productive farmland has been abandoned due to superweeds.

    Watch for the report to appear about how much it is costing us not to have GM crops — remember this is the study that Nick Smith denied exioted when he didn’t even know it was being done within his own department !!

    This is truly the worst, most dangerous and deleterious guvmint New Zealanders have ever elected.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      No water, so no corn or wheat grown in US therefore no need for 2 4 D. Perfect.

    • blue leopard 8.2

      Further to Yeshe’s comment re TPPA:

      “When New Zealand’s chief negotiator was asked what were “the top local impediments” to concluding a TPP agreement, the first item he listed was the nation’s GMO regulations – and cited Monsanto’s unhappiness with these.”

      http://www.sustainabilitynz.org/news_item.asp?sID=236 (pdf)

      **Nice to know that Monsanto is privy to the TPPA negotiations where the NZ public are not**

      • yeshe 8.2.1

        Thx Blue Leopard — your ** nice-to-know statement — what a superb question to be asked in the House.

        And anyone wanting to be truly spooked — search Morgellon’s Disease .. more than 40,000 confirmed cases in USA, and NIH and CDC admit they have no idea what it is. Alternative practitioners understand .. most are certain the painful and multiple hair-like strands growing out of peoples’ skin are protein strands directly related to proteins inserted into GM food crops. Watch for proof to appear.

        “Citovsky’s team took scanning electron microscope pictures of the fibres in or extruding from the skin of patients suffering from Morgellons disease, confirming that they are UNLIKE ANY ORDINARY NATURAL OR SYNTHETIC FIBRES “.(see Fig. 1, assembled from Citovsky’s website [8]).

        http://www.i-sis.org.uk/agrobacteriumAndMorgellons.php

        Search Google for Morgellons images but maybe wait until after breakfast.

        and
        …..Sufferers include folk singer Joni Mitchell, who has complained of ‘”This weird incurable disease that seems like it’s from outer space… Fibres in a variety of colours protrude out of my skin: they cannot be forensically identified as animal, vegetable or mineral. Morgellons is a slow, unpredictable killer – a terrorist disease. It will blow up one of your organs, leaving you in bed for a year.”

        So it’s new, frightening and profoundly odd. But if you were to seek the view of the medical establishment, you’d find the strangest fact about this disease: morgellons doesn’t exist.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/may/07/morgellons-mysterious-illness

  8. Glg 9

    If GM growers cannot contain the pollen from their plants, there we have a problem. And thats just what the US has. NZ had to change regulations to allow GM contaminated corn into NZ, ie less than x% contamination doesn’t count as contamination.
    Also there is evidence that GM pollen is implicated in bee hive collapse, although this could be the dodgy insecticides that use on GM crops.
    Continued high use of Roundup eventually kills the soil bacteria, then plants do less well, then weeds gain resistence, more weedkiller, farmers in India now have very high levels of suicide, GM led them straight into poverty.
    GM is not safe for the environment, and Manufacturers hate it that Europe wants nothing to do with their crap, NZ has to be smart enough to do the same.

    • yeshe 9.1

      Sad that the longest straight line in the known universe is the one running between our NAct guvmint and the word “smart”. Terrifying.

  9. BLiP 10

    .

    Call this latest kerfuffle “inept and blatant lobbying” if you must but, really, its just a distraction from the fact that its “game-over”. Know the history, observe what’s happening overseas, and read between the lines and its apparent that, rather than “lobbying”, we are seeing an announcement of the inevitable. Genetically engineered food and its concomitant frankenstein farming was introduced by deceit ten years ago. thanks Labour. National Ltd™ has further assisted the process by trashing any public regulatory enforcement and monitoring. Our kiwifruit producers know all about that aspect. Today, all National Ltd™ has to do is stand silent while the multinationals finish the job. Now its just a matter of selling the idea to the public without letting on that its fait accompli. Hey presto, dire TINA threats and PR pipedreams about health/economic benefits based on voodoo science and make-believe economics.

    Protest, piss and moan all you like but it might be a better idea to dig in your own veggie garden, and sooner rather than later. Hopefully, “already existing domestic production” will not be made illegal, although the distribution, even gratis, of any produce probably will be.

  10. Tamati 11

    It seems to me that the left is at risk as being seen as anti-science, as is the Republicans in the US. How can you be so skeptical of science, on one hand, then adamant about it when talking about global warming? – You can have it both ways!

    Why does New Zealand have to choose between GE and non-GE anyway? Surely individual farmers can make their own decisions, as they are ones who are taking   the risks, and will reap the rewards.

    • blue leopard 11.1

      @ Tamati

      Because if your neighbour chooses to have a GM crop on their land then your plants may become contaminated; meaning that we are not entitled to simply choose as we see fit-one person’s choice is going to effect another’s freedom to choose.

      • Carol 11.1.1

        Not to mention , the corporatisation of farming that’s been going on….

      • Tamati 11.1.2

        Sure, but we could easily employ mechanisms to prevent or reduce this. And it’s not likely to be a problem for livestock, only crops. So a blanket ban would seem premature.

        • blue leopard 11.1.2.1

          @Tamati,

          Whom gets to choose whether it is the GM food producers who are enclosed in a giant plastic bubble (to ensure no contamination) or the people wishing to keep their food uncontaminated?

          (I wouldn’t worry about spending too much time on thinking about the answer to this question, we won’t get the opportunity to choose now that it is clear that Monsanto has more influence on our successive governments than ordinary NZers.)

          • Tamati 11.1.2.1.1

            Producers choose what they wish to grow. Consumer buy and consume what they wish. (And there are plenty of organic options out their already) 

            • Carol 11.1.2.1.1.1

              Tamati, that just sounds naive and out of touch with the reality of the dictatorship of the corporates in the “market”.

            • blue leopard 11.1.2.1.1.2

              +1 Carol

              Tamati, Both types of producers do not get to choose what they wish to grow in this scenario when contamination is a reality. This leads one person’s choice to be mutually exclusive to the others.

              I suggested a giant plastic bubble in order to avoid the contamination and I’m asking you:

              Who gets to choose whether they live inside the bubble or in the open air-the GM Food growers-to-be, or the Real Food growers?

              • Tamati

                GM producers would obviously pay for and provide the mechanism to prevent spread of genetic material from one farm to the next. It terms of live stock, a common farm fence would be fine. 

                Most GM seed is hybrid anyway, so incapable of reproducing. 

                • Colonial Viper

                  Wait until those seed killing genes spread.

                • blue leopard

                  @Tamati

                  How would GM producers prevent negative effects of genetic material when it is not yet known what the negative effects of GM Food is (therefore how does one protect oneself from it)?

                  “The SSC highlights the rapidly increasing complexity of the changes in plants arising from the insertion of a variety of genes and a variety of combinations of genes. Current evaluation methods regarding human and animal health and the environment, suffer from different limitations when dealing with the variety of issues which might emerge from the development and introduction of new GMPs..”

                  p13 ~European Commission report on Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Plants (2000)

                  Are you aware that those wishing for this business to be expanded are also against food being labelled to indicate that it contains GM?

    • Colonial Viper 11.2

      Tamati said

      Surely individual farmers can make their own decisions, as they are ones who are taking the risks, and will reap the rewards.

      BS

      We’re all taking the risk because we are all living in the same biosphere. Get with the programme.

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    The Commerce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill. This bill worries me. I flagged some major concerns during its first reading.   I am now reading submissions from NZ Steel, ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    2 days ago
  • Just 8 per cent of work visas for skills shortages
    Just 16,000 – or 8 per cent – of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations for which there is an identified skills shortage, says Labour Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The overwhelming majority of the record number ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard won agreement shouldn’t be thrown away
    The Government should ignore talk across the Tasman about doing away with the labelling of GM free products, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “Labelling of genetically modified products was a hard won agreement in 2001 by Australian and the ...
    2 days ago
  • National’s privatisation Trojan horse
     The National government is using the need to modernise the school system as a Trojan horse for privatisation and an end to free public education as we know it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There is no doubt that ...
    2 days ago
  • Shameless land-banking ads show need for crackdown
    The fact that more than 300 sections are shamelessly being advertised on Trade Me as land-banking opportunities during a housing crisis shows the need for a crackdown on property speculators, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Of the 328 ...
    2 days ago
  • Standard and Poor’s warning of housing crisis impact on banks
    The National Government’s failure to address the housing crisis is leading to dire warnings from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s about the impact on the strength of the economy and New Zealand banks, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Standard ...
    2 days ago
  • Ihumatao needs action not sympathy
    The Petition of Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) calling on Parliament to revoke Special Housing Area 62 in order to protect the Ihumatao Peninsula and Stonefields, has fallen on deaf ears, says the Labour MP for Mangere Su’a William Sio.  ...
    2 days ago
  • Student visa fraud & exploitation must stop
    The Government must act immediately to end fraud and exploitation of international students that threatens to damage New Zealand’s reputation, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. ...
    3 days ago
  • Government needs to show leadership in reviewing monetary policy
    The Reserve Bank’s struggles to meet its inflation target, the rising exchange rate and the continued housing crisis shows current monetary policy needs to be reviewed - with amendments to the policy targets agreement a bare minimum, says Labour’s Finance ...
    3 days ago
  • Slash and burn of special education support
    Slashing the support for school age children with special needs is no way to fund earlier intervention, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “National’s latest plan to slash funding for children with special needs over the age of 7 in ...
    4 days ago
  • National’s Pasifika MPs must have free vote
      Pacific people will not take kindly to the Government whipping their Pacific MPs to vote in favour of a  Bill that will allow Sunday trading  at Easter, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “We are seeing ...
    6 days ago
  • Maritime Crimes Bill – balancing security and free speech
    Parliament is currently considering the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill, which would bring New Zealand up to date with current international rules about maritime security. The debate around the Bill reflects two valid issues: legitimate counter-terrorism measures and the right to ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Teachers’ low wages at the centre of shortages
      Figures that show teachers’ wages have grown the slowest of all occupations is at the heart of the current teacher shortage, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  In the latest Labour Cost Index, education professionals saw their wages grow ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s Tax Law undermines common law principles
    A tax amendment being snuck in under the radar allows changes to tax issues to be driven through by the Government without Parliamentary scrutiny, says Labour’s Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash. “The amendment allows any part of the Tax Administration Act ...
    1 week ago
  • Government slippery about caption funding
      The Government has refused to apologise for taking the credit for funding Olympic Games captioning when the National Foundation for the Deaf  was responsible, says Labour’s spokesperson on Disability Issues Poto Williams.  “This shameful act of grandstanding by Ministers ...
    1 week ago
  • Default KiwiSaver investments should be reviewed
    The investments of the default KiwiSaver providers should be reviewed to make sure they are in line with New Zealanders’ values and expectations, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Most New Zealanders would be appalled that their KiwiSaver funds are ...
    1 week ago
  • New ministry should look after all children
    The Government has today shunned well founded pleas by experts not to call its new agency the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.  “Well respected organisations and individuals such as Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft ...
    1 week ago
  • Ratification okay but we need action
    Today’s decision to ratify the Paris agreement on Climate Change by the end of the year is all well and good but where is the plan, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Government’s failure to plan is planning ...
    1 week ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    1 week ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    1 week ago
  • Auckland’s affordable homes plummet 72% under National
    Comprehensive new data from CoreLogic has found the number of homes in Auckland valued at under $600,000 has plummeted by 72 per cent since National took office, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This data tracks the changes in ...
    1 week ago
  • Govt should face the facts not skew the facts
    National appears to be actively massaging official unemployment statistics by changing the measure for joblessness to exclude those looking online, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Household Labour Force Survey, released tomorrow, no longer regards people job hunting on ...
    1 week ago
  • More voices call for review of immigration policy
    The Auckland Chamber of Commerce is the latest credible voice to call for a review of immigration and skills policy, leaving John Key increasingly isolated, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister is rapidly becoming a man alone. He ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Better balance needed in Intelligence Bill
    Labour will support the NZ Intelligence and Security Bill to select committee so the issues can be debated nationwide and important amendments can be made, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Serco circus has no place in NZ
    A High Court judgment proves National’s private prison agenda has failed and the Serco circus has no place in New Zealand correctional facilities, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • State house sell-off a kick in the guts for Tauranga’s homeless
    The Government’s sale of 1124 state houses in Tauranga won’t house a single extra homeless person in the city, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Tauranga, like the rest of New Zealand, has a crisis of housing affordability and homelessness. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Axing Auckland’s affordable quota disappointing
    Auckland Council has given away a useful tool for delivering more affordable housing by voting to accept the Independent Hearing Panel’s recommendation to abolish affordable quotas for new developments, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ae Marika! Māori Party Oath Bill fails
    The Māori Party must reconsider its relationship with National after they failed to support Marama Fox’s Treaty of Waitangi Oath bill, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Police Minister all platitudes no detail
    The Police Minister must explain where the budget for new police officers is coming from after continuously obfuscating, Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Lost luggage law shows National’s lost the plot
    The Government has proven it can’t address the big issues facing the tourism industry by allowing a Members Bill on lost luggage to be a priority, Labour’s Tourism spokesman Kris Faafoi said. “Nuk Korako’s Bill drawn from the Members’ Ballot ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Hiding behind the law – but can’t say which law
    National is refusing to come clean on what caused the potential trade dispute with China by hiding behind laws and trade rules they can’t even name, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Clark. “National admitted today that an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Work visas issued for jobs workless Kiwis want
    Thousands of work visas for low-skilled jobs were issued by the Government in the past year despite tens of thousands of unemployed Kiwis looking for work in those exact occupations, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “A comparison of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis nationwide now paying for housing crisis
    The Government’s failure to tackle the housing crisis is now affecting the entire country with nationwide house price inflation in the past year hitting 26 per cent, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “None of National’s tinkering or half-baked, piecemeal ...
    2 weeks ago
  • OCR cut piles pressure on Government
    Today’s OCR cut must be backed by Government action on housing and economic growth, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler’s monetary policy statement underlines the limits of Bill English’s economic management. He says growth is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must explain the McClay delay
    Todd McClay must explain why it took two months for him to properly inform the Prime Minister about China’s potential trade retaliation, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Clark. “This may be one of the most serious trade ...
    2 weeks ago
  • OCR cut would be vote of no confidence in economy
    If Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler cuts the OCR tomorrow it would show that, despite his loudly-voiced concerns about fuelling the housing market, the stuttering economy is now a bigger concern, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Bill English and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Leading medical experts back Healthy Homes Bill
    Leading medical experts have today thrown their weight behind my Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, saying it will improve the health of Kiwi kids, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “The Bill sets minimum standards for heating, insulation and ventilation ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister, it’s time to listen to the Auditor General
    Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman needs to listen to the independent advice of the Auditor General and review the capital charge system imposed on District Health Boards, says Labour’ Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “The capital charge on DHBs has been ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Peas explain, Minister
    The Minister of Primary Industries needs to explain how the failure of its biosecurity systems led to the Pea Weevil incursion in the Wairarapa, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says “The decision to ban the growing of peas in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PM’s police numbers wrong
    The Prime Minister has said that police numbers will increase in-line with population growth, however, the Police’s own four year strategy clearly states there are no plans to increase police numbers for the next four years, Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministerial double speak on GP Fees
      The Associate Health Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga was simply making it up when he claimed today that General Practitioners had been given money in the Budget to lower fees, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In a reply to a ...
    2 weeks ago

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