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Environment at risk as GE advocate chosen to head the EPA

An ardent advocate of genetic engineering (GE) should not be heading the body charged with protecting the environment, the Green Party said today.

Former CEO of Wrightson Dr Allan Freeth has been appointed to head the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), and will take up the post in September.

During his time at Wrightson, Dr Freeth was instrumental in pushing their adoption of GE grasses, and saw Wrightson buy into biotech company Genesis to work on GE pasture plants and GE trees.

“Dr Freeth’s appointment comes at a time when communities are working hard to push back against GE in their communities,” said Green Party GE spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“The National Government is introducing a National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forests, that would give power to the EPA to allow the use of GE material, and would overturn recent Environment Court decisions allowing communities the right to make those decisions for themselves.

“So the very agency that has the ability to decide on releasing GE trees into our environment throughout the country will be headed by a man who has been an advocate of GE.

“We should remember this is an organisation that should be protecting the environment, and certainly not permitting the release of GE organisms when we are so reliant on our clean, green brand.”

ENDS