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Taking advantage of farmers’ desperate situations to push the genetic engineering (GE) agenda is unacceptable, the Green Party said today.
This was in response to Federated Farmers Vice-President William Rolleston’s comments yesterday that the Government should relax the country’s genetic engineering regulations, making them less restrictive in order to assist the release of GE drought resistant grass.
“Now is the time to provide relief to farmers and take a look at which farming systems can withstand extreme weather events in the long term, not to pounce on the opportunity to loosen regulations and push GE products,” said Green Party agriculture spokesperson Steffan Browning.
“New Zealanders, and our export markets, don’t want GE in our foods.
“This drought will break, but we will have another and we need to be ready so we can continue to provide the good, safe food our customers want.
“Farmers who are experiencing drought after drought are looking for strategies to manage the new weather conditions.
“Dr William Rolleston’s suggestion that GE grasses may be a solution for drought is a cynical abuse of the tough situation facing so many farmers and communities.
“Companies pushing genetically engineered crops are not doing it to help farmers overcome drought.
“Genetically engineered crops are pushed to control seed lines and intellectual property that actually cost farmers more and more, and have failed to provide the promised benefits
“The solution to drought is not one silver bullet. It is a systematic problem and we need to support appropriate systematic solutions.