The Progressive Coalition’s decision to vote against the NOOM Bill demonstrates the importance of legal restraints on the growing of GM food said Sustainability Council Executive Director Simon Terry. The Progressives sought a change to include a restraint and determined to vote against the bill when this was not accepted.
As the Minister of Economic Development and the minister responsible for Government’s assistance programme for biotechnology, Jim Anderton would not have voted against this bill unless he was convinced there were real concerns the bill had failed to address.
Food exporters such as Zespri, Freshco, and ENZAFOODS have stressed the marketing risks that growing GM food would pose for conventional food producers and New Zealand’s clean green brand. Against this, there appear to be no significant gains to be made in the next five years from GM food production as the varieties are not suited to New Zealand conditions.
Jim Anderton has provided the ultimate demonstration that support for biotechnology and ongoing GM research is entirely consistent with holding back production of GM foods due to a lack of market acceptance.
The Progressive’s have recognised that the strength of market rejection of GM food has the potential to significantly impact on Brand New Zealand and that a legal restraint is preferable to an environmental regulator having to assess such threats.
Parliament will have a further opportunity to put in place a legal restraint on the growing of GM foods when New Zealand First brings forward a private members bill for this purpose.
Mr Anderton’s speech is available here.