by Steffan Browning
It’s been a busy few months fighting genetic engineering in New Zealand.
Firstly I have been negotiating with the Minister for Food Safety to try and get GE put back into the Food Bill.
I then spent a couple of weeks travelling around New Zealand with two Australian farmers talking to communities about the Australian experience of GE crops in their farming communities.
To follow up with a solution that will maintain our primary producers marketing advantage, I put a Members Bill into the ballot which would put a moratorium back into place to halt the release of GE organisms into the New Zealand environment for the next 10 years.
In September we had the Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference in Rotorua. I convened a public meeting and spoke at a rally before the conference and then attended the conference. Disturbingly the biotech conference was dominated by GE proponents, including senior people from GE giants Monsanto and DuPont, and the USA State Department’s senior biotechnology advisor, all pushing for New Zealand to accept GE crops.
I had questioned the Minister of Science and Innovation in the house about the Government’s financial support of this conference.
I have just put forward an amendment to the Patents Bill currently going through the House that will stop the patenting of life that is crucial to the GE industries’ ability to make money.
We’ve been fuelled in this work by the people all around New Zealand who are continuing to fight against GE. It’s been great to see the network working strong on these issues and we look forward to the next strides.