World Rainforest Movement

Aotearoa/New Zealand: US company to grow genetically engineered trees?

The Green Party is concerned at the reported aggressive comments of US company, which outline its plans to grow genetically engineered (GE) redwood trees in New Zealand.

The timber company, Soper-Wheeler, has said it intends to start planting genetically engineered seedlings from the US in its South Island plantation in August. This is despite New Zealand’s moratorium on commercial release of GE not being due to be lifted till October. The company says the harvested logs would be sent to mills in the US.

Green Party Forestry Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today it was outrageous that a company from another country thought it could just ignore the laws and regulations that helped make our country clean and green.

“It is arrogant, but it also shows that other countries think they can take advantage of our very slack regulatory regime. This is a wakeup call, warning us that companies are lining up ready to plant GE as soon as the moratorium is lifted.

“It is particularly concerning, as the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders don’t even want GE products in this country, in field or food. If the Americans want GE redwoods, they should grow them in their country.”

Mr Ewen-Street said the company’s intentions not to process the logs here added insult to injury, denying New Zealanders an opportunity to add value here.

Greens Media Release 10 Feb 2003: “American GE tree plan arrogant, say Greens.” Article sent by Brad Hash, G.E. Tree Campaign Action for Social and Ecological Justice (ASEJ), www.asej.org , www.gaaget.org , e-mail: gaaget@gaaget.org

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