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 National Party may have finally woken up to the teacher supply crisis facing our schools but their latest half-baked, rushed announcement falls well short of the mark in terms of what’s required, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    6 days ago
  • Nats: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
    Alfred Ngaro’s recent comments have exposed the Government’s ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ approach, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • Breaking news – National admits there’s a housing crisis
    National finally admits there’s a housing crisis, but today’s belated announcement is simply not a credible response to the problem it’s been in denial about for so long, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National can’t now credibly claim ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats lay the ground for housing bust
    Goldman Sachs’ warning that New Zealand has the developed world’s most over-priced housing market, with a 40 per cent chance of a bust within two years, shows the consequences of National’s nine years of housing neglect, says Labour Housing spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?
    Property investors’ lobby groups have been up in arms this week about Labour and Green parties’ plans to close tax loopholes and fix the housing market. That’s probably a good thing. Like an investor in any other sector, they expect ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Alfred Ngaro reflects National’s culture of silencing debate
    Image from Getty Images Community groups must be free to advocate for the people they serve. It’s these people who see first-hand if ideas dreamt up in Wellington actually work on the ground. It’s essential that they can speak freely ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Bill English must reassure community organisations
    The Prime Minister must do more to reassure community organisations after Cabinet Minister Alfred Ngaro's apparent threats to their funding if they criticise government policy which has left a born-to-rule perception amongst many, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Alfred Ngaro ...
    1 week ago
  • Extremism and its discontents
    Another scar on global democracy appeared recently, this time in Germany.It seems that the number of soldiers on duty with extremist political leanings has become a concern to the military leadership in that country. Soldiers were found openly possessing ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Government’s suicide approach disappoints
    Mike King’s sudden departure from the Government’s suicide prevention panel, amid claims the Government’s approach is ‘deeply flawed’, is further evidence National is failing on mental health, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. “Mental health is reaching crisis point in ...
    1 week ago
  • National backs speculators, fails first home buyers
    National is showing its true colours and backing speculators who are driving first home buyers out of the market, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “By defending a $150m a year hand-out to property speculators, Bill English is turning his back ...
    1 week ago
  • More oversight by Children’s Commissioner needed
    More funding and more independence is required for the Children’s Commissioner to function more effectively in the best interests of Kiwi kids in State care, says Labour’s spokesperson for children Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to end tax breaks for speculators; invest in warm, healthy homes
    Labour will shut down tax breaks for speculators and use the savings to help make 600,000 homes warmer and healthier over the next ten years, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “It’s time for fresh thinking to tackle the ...
    1 week ago
  • Health of young people a priority for Labour
    Labour will ensure all young people have access to a range of health care services on-site at their local secondary school, says Labour’s deputy leader Jacinda Ardern. “Our policy will see School Based Health Services extended to all public secondary ...
    1 week ago
  • Ratifying the TPPA makes no sense
    The recent high-fiving between the government and agricultural exporters over ratification of the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) is empty gesture politics in an election year. Ratification by New Zealand means nothing. New Zealand law changes are not implemented unless the ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • NIWA report proves National’s trickery re swimmable rivers
    National have a slacker standard for swimmable rivers than was the case prior to their recent so-called Clean Water amendment to the National Policy Statement (NPS), says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. “The table 11 on page 25 of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • MPS shows new approach needed on housing
    The Reserve Bank’s latest Monetary Policy Statement provides further evidence that only a change in government will start to fix the housing crisis, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is more evident than ever that only a Labour-led government ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fresh approach on mental health
    Labour will introduce a pilot scheme of specialist mental health teams across the country in government to ensure swifter and more effective treatment for those who need urgent help, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little. “Mental health is in crisis. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sallies back Labour’s plan for affordable homes
    The country’s most respected social agency has endorsed Labour’s KiwiBuild plan to build homes that families can afford to buy, and delivered a withering assessment of the National Government’s housing record, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Education is for everyone, not just the elite
    Proposals by the National Party to ration access to higher education will once again make it a privilege only available to the elite, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Speaking at the Education Select Committee, Maurice Williamson let the National ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer support changes far too little, certainly late
    Anne Tolley’s belated backtrack to finally allow Jobseeker clients suffering from cancer to submit only one medical certificate to prove their illness fails to adequately provide temporary support for people too sick to work, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kids must come first in enrolment debate
    The best interests of children should be the major driver of any change to policies around initial school enrolments, not cost cutting or administrative simplicity, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.   “The introduction of school cohort entry is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Feed the Kids
    While in Whangarei last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Buddhi Manta from the Hare Krishna movement whose cafe is making lunch for some schools in Whangarei. His group have been feeding up to 1,000 primary school kids at local ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • DHBs’ big budget blowout
    New Zealand’s District Health Boards are now facing a budget deficit of nearly $90 million dollars, a significant blowout on what was forecast, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   Labour believes health funding must grow to avoid further cuts ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt plays catch up on drug funding
    The Government's backdown on Pharmac is welcomed because previous rhetoric around the agency being adequately funded was just nonsense, says Labour's Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes in Hamilton
    Labour will build 200 affordable KiwiBuild houses and state houses on unused government-owned land as the first steps in our plan to fix Hamilton’s housing crisis, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “We will build new houses to replace ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Mental Health waiting times a growing concern
    There is new evidence that the Mental Health system is under increasing strain with waiting times for young people to be seen by mental health and addiction services lengthening says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “Following yesterday’s seat of ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More beneficiaries heading to jail, fewer to study
    The latest quarterly benefit figures show a rising number of beneficiaries have left the benefit because they have gone to prison, while fewer are going into study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “According to recent figures, in the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Analyst charts failure of National’s housing policy
    Respected analyst Rodney Dickens has published a devastating critique of National’s housing policy, and says Labour’s policies give more hope, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Mr Dickens shows since the signing of the Auckland Housing Accord in 2013 the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Cost of Living increases hit those with least the hardest
    Beneficiaries, superannuitants and people on the lowest incomes continue to bear the brunt of higher inflation, according to the latest data from Statistics NZ, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Since National came to office (December 2008) inflation for those ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Pike River Mine families deserve more
    The Government must be more open and honest about the Pike River Mine says Dunedin South’s  Labour MP Clare Curran.   “It’s just wrong that the Commerce Select Committee has refused a Labour Party request to re-open its investigation ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government goalposts taken off the field
    The Government’s decision to dump the Better Public Service (BPS) Target to Reduce Reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017 shows when it comes to measuring their progress the National Government hasn’t just shifted the goalposts, but has taken the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Last call of the kea?
    Last weekend, I attended the first ever Kea Konvention jointly organised by the Kea Conservation Trust and Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand. It was a power-packed weekend full of presentations by scientists, volunteers and NGOS working to raise awareness of this ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    3 weeks ago
  • Healthy Homes Bill needed to keep kids out of hospital
    National’s promise to reduce child hospital admissions can only be kept by backing Labour’s Healthy Homes Bill, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Wages not keeping up with cost of living
    Too many Kiwis are being left behind due to stagnant wages in the face of rising inflation, according to the latest employment figures released today, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “While it is always good to see the total ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour’s housing plan needed for Wellington as prices top $600,000
    As the price of the average house in Wellington passes $600,000, the need for Labour’s plan to build affordable houses is getting more urgent, says Labour MP for Rimutaka Chris Hipkins. ...
    3 weeks ago