Two Australian farmers have travelled to New Zealand to warn against releasing genetically engineered (GE) crops, the Green Party said today.
The Green Party have organised a tour by two Australian farmers, Julie Newman and Bob Mackley, to share with New Zealanders the realities of living with GE crops.
"These farmers are saying that country communities are getting hammered by having GE in their environment," Green Party GE spokesperson Steffan Browning said today.
"The economic impact of GE crops was not taken into account in the Australian releases and that is hurting their farmers.
"We need to learn from their mistakes and carry out an independent economic impact assessment into releasing GE, one that covers both the potential impact for individual farmers and for all sectors of the New Zealand economy.
"Just to give one example, the European Union won't accept any honey with GE traces. Releasing GE into New Zealand will close that $48 million a year market.
"Releasing GE crops would be a one way street, putting at risk our brand, our reputation, and our world export markets, to grow food for which there are no consumer benefits, and no market.
"Co-existence is a myth. GE crops, if released, will contaminate the crops of farmers who don't choose GE crops and will open them up to huge liability risks.
"We are facing increased pressure to start releasing GE crops in New Zealand but all of the international experience is proving that the promised benefits of GE were overstated and the risks are real.
"Recently the Hastings District Council calculated the importance that staying GE free has on their economic development and so has declared their region GE free. The Government needs to do this maths at the national level.
"GE crops negatively impact on nearly everyone, bad for the consumers, bad for farmers, bad for the community and the only ones benefiting are the multinational companies," said Mr Browning.
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