Christmas is over Scion, take the GE trees down

It’s time for Scion to pull down its Rotorua GE Christmas trees, says the Soil & Health Association.

“Scion appears unable to manage its genetic engineering tree experiments to meet the requirements of its ERMA consent, so like any Christmas trees, their time is up,” said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning.

The genetically engineered tree field trials at the Rotorua base of CRI Scion (formerly Forest Research Institute Ltd) have rabbits and cats free ranging in and out of the trial, and the weekly fence inspection requirements of the ERMA (Environmental Risk Management Authority) consent have clearly not been followed for years according to Scion’s annual ERMA reports and photographic evidence collated for Soil & Health’s Organic NZ magazine.

“The consistent rabbit breaches show that the Ministry for the Environment (MfE), ERMA, MAF (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry) and Scion, are all falling down in their responsibilities. Scion first in its lax approach to the GE experiment conditions, MAF for not monitoring Scion’s compliance thoroughly, ERMA for not recognising the consistency of the breaches in repeated Scion annual reports, and MfE for falling down in its overview position.”

“Further, the requirement to have all experimental trees topped at 5 metres has not been followed, with one clearly left to exceed that height. Also prunings are being mower mulched on site instead of the required incineration.”

“With all levels of authority not taking genetic engineering risks seriously it will not be surprising if the community takes control of such field trials.”

“Scion and other crown research institutes have valuable contributions to make in traditional breeding and plant development techniques that do not create environmental risk, or risks to New Zealand’s clean green marketing image,” said Mr Browning.

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