Following the latest GE seed border incursion, the Soil and Health Association of New Zealand is once again calling for a stop to imports of sweet corn and maize seed, until absolute certainty of nil GE contamination is achieved.
‘Clean green New Zealand farmers deserve better protection by Biosecurity NZ, and those affected by dirty seed need fast assurance of fair compensation, just as the wider community needs assurance that the contaminated seed and young plants will be destroyed,’ said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning,
‘It is increasingly frustrating and disturbing having repeated border incursions of dirty seed. If some in MAF Biosecurity are letting their team and the rest of New Zealand down, and zero tolerance cannot be assured, then MAF must encourage further development of New Zealand’s own clean seed industry’.
‘Self sufficiency in clean seed can protect New Zealand’s clean green reputation as a GE Free producer’.
Prime Minister Helen Clark’s call for New Zealand to be the world’s first truly sustainable nation included the statement: “I want sustainability to be central to New Zealand’s unique national identity….”
‘Our unique national identity includes Nuclear Free and GE Free for most kiwis, and these repeated incursions tarnish that identity’, said Mr Browning.
‘Contrary to Dr William Rolleston of Life Sciences Network, who doesn’t mind a little contamination, the large majority of New Zealanders have consistently indicated they don’t want GE contaminated food or have GE crops grown.’
‘Organic growers and consumers who have sights on an Organic 2020 don’t need Life Sciences contaminated thinking. We want food and crops that our consumers and markets appreciate, not dirty low value commodities’.
Soil & Health is also concerned that possible dilution of contaminated parent lines of seed may be allowing intentional contamination into New Zealand.
Such concerns, according to Mr Browning, further fuel the need to develop New Zealand’s seed industry as part of a Clean Green, GE Free, Nuclear Free national identity.