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People's Moratorium in New Zealand

Page - December 14, 2006
When the New Zealand Government lifted the moratorium on GE release in October 2003 a coalition of groups representing the strong public sentiment opposing GE release launched the People's Moratorium.

Greenpeace GE Campaigner Steve Abel speaking at the press conference held by Greenpeace, Mothers Against Genetic Engineering (MAdGE), GE Free New Zealand, Take 5, and the GE Free Register to launch the idea of a 'People's Moratorium'.

"Today against the will of the New Zealand public, against the preference of our international markets and against environmental and health risks the government are lifting the moratorium on GE release.

This failure of government to act democratically or in the public interest means it now falls to the people to defend New Zealand from unwanted GE organisms. Today begins the Peoples Moratorium."
  Greenpeace, 29/10/03.

The People's Moratorium was based on the premise that many avenues remained open to the public to halt GE release ranging from consumer pressure to declaring ones property a GE free zone, political lobbying and direct action.

"If the people's resolve remains strong and our demand for GE free food and a GE free land does not falter then GE cannot prevail because the people eat the food and the people live in the land, and the people is who industry and the politicians are ultimately answerable to."

In fact the prediction in 2003 that New Zealand would remain free of commercial GE releases has proved so as at December 2006.

"Today is a hollow victory for the government because despite the moratorium ending the prospects for GE crops in New Zealand are the worst they have ever been.

Through the power of public rejection GE crops become an ever more marginal prospect.

A mounting number of producers are declaring their unwillingness to grow GE crops and major food companies continue to remove GE ingredients from their products.

These trends are set to continue and the public dissent, predicted to disappear years ago, grows only stronger as more is understood about the unfounded myths and multi-million dollar failures of this technology around the world."
Greenpeace, 29/10/03