Our position on GE is like that on Nuclear power. It is not safe under capitalism! We do not trust the bosses to do anything that affects workers lives because they are motivated solely by profit. We do not trust our health and safety on the job to the bosses, so why should we trust them or their state to regulate GE? This does not mean that we think that GE is necessarily bad. Under a socialist state where informed workers can democratically regulate GE many social benefits are possible. But we need socialism before we need GE! We reprint below a short excerpt from an article by Chris Wheeler responding to the Royal Commission’s Report based upon his experience of 20 years of monitoring the failure of Government environmental ‘controls.’

"…The Commission's report in favour of GE has now become an effective tool for beating the GE opposition and the Green Party in Parliament around the head - probably the only reason for this whole $NZ6.5 million taxpayer-funded farce in the first place! As PM Helen Clark, her parliamentary colleagues and the GE industry are now saying all across the NZ media: "You got what you asked for - a complete and comprehensive review of GE policy and science. The expert view resulting from the Royal Commission's deliberations is that GE is an essential part of New Zealand's economic survival and a leading aspect of our new 'Knowledge Economy' and must be allowed to go ahead with the minimum of restrictions. Now shut-up. Stop complaining, and accept the majority opinion."

Of course there are some derisory "controls" being recommended in the Royal Commission report, but in my past 20 years of direct involvement in agriculture issues and membership of official bodies deliberating on environmental control strategies in New Zealand, I have yet to see effective legislation or regulation controlling ANY aspect of the agrichemical abuse that New Zealand is notorious for in informed world environmental circles and GE abuse will fare little better. The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) cited in the Commission's report as the responsible agency overseeing GE trials and releases has been controlled from the first day of its establishment several years ago by powerful industry lobby groups with the necessary financial resources to fight any environmental group's submissions to a standstill.

For 20 years I have been involved in various attempts to place effective controls over the profligate application of carcinogenic pesticides by New Zealand farmers, which contributes to New Zealand's record levels of breast, prostate and bowel cancer, childhood leukemia and birth defects, and have met with continual official apathy and obstruction, particularly from official regulatory agencies. I and the knowledgeable anti-GE community in New Zealand have absolutely no faith in the new GE review apparatus being suggested by the Commission because we know that just as with appointments to the food regulatory Australia New Zealand Food

Authority (ANZFA) and ERMA, membership will be heavily weighted with GE industry stooges and political appointees guaranteed to preserve the status quo…"

GE run by the bosses? No Way!

Class Struggle No 40, August-September 2001

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