Thousands March Against
GE Crops in New Zealand

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
November 16, 200,

Thousands march against genetic engineering
Wellington, New Zealand

About 8,000 people marched Saturday through Auckland, New Zealand's
largest city, to protest government plans to end a two-year embargo on the
commercial release of genetically engineered (GE) crops by next year.
Rally organizer Alannah Currie told Radio New Zealand that the march was a
warning for the government that the anti-GE movement would keep up pressure
until the policy was reversed and the new technology banned. The march was
organized by 12 environmental groups campaigning for New Zealand, one of the
world's largest exporters of foodstuffs, to be kept GE-free.

"What we are protesting about is, don't contaminate our food, don't
contaminate our land, our children. Keep it in the laboratory," actress
Danielle Cormack, who led the march, told TV3 news.
Earlier, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs issued a statement saying the
government was pledged to maintain a "cautious" approach to the development
of genetically engineered crops.

She said that calls to maintain a two-year moratorium on the release of GE
organisms beyond October 2003 overlooked safeguards in place and New
Zealand's need to preserve opportunities in the age of biotechnology.
Hobbs said that a royal commission had conducted the most extensive
investigation into genetic modification of any country, and the government
was acting on the panel's recommendation to proceed with caution.
"The expiry of the moratorium will not open the flood gates to commercial
production of GE crops," she said.

It would simply allow applications for the release of GE material to be
considered case by case by an expert group established to protect the
environment and the health and safety of New Zealanders, Hobbs said.

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