Approving GE trees in Brazil will have dire implications for New Zealand

The approval of GE trees by a Brazilian regulatory body will have implications for New Zealand’s clean, green image and potentially the pockets of taxpayers, the Green Party said today.

A worldwide protest by GE campaigners of Brazilian embassies and consulates will put pressure on their government to stop the approval of commercial plantations of GE eucalyptus trees. Campaigners against GE will protest at the Brazilian Embassy in Wellington at 12.45pm today.

“New Zealand is involved, as tax payer funded Crown Research Institute Scion has been working with Arborgen in developing both GE eucalyptus and pine trees. We are concerned that should GE eucalypts be approved by Brazil, Arborgen and by implication New Zealand, could  soon be developing GE tree plantations there,” said Green Party GE spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“Allowing GE trees to be developed puts power in the hands of the large technology and agribusiness companies, while taking it out of individual growers’ and planters’ hands. As we’ve seen with GE products grown overseas, farmers will be reliant on certain chemicals and their producers for the wellbeing of their plantations and their livelihoods.

“GE plantations will encourage a monoculture and reduce biodiversity. New Zealand’s clean, green image is hardly enhanced by development of this technology, and taxpayers shouldn’t have to subsidise that. Becoming a developer and testing ground for GE, we dilute what we hold precious.”

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