NZ a front for GM corn state (23/6/2005)

Most people at the recent Biosafety Protocol meeting in Montreal were completely mystified as to why New Zealand blocked the consensus that would have required proper labelling of international shipments of GM organisms, thus allowing in the words of one delegate, "global genetic pollution to escape unnoticed and unscathed". How was that in the interests of a country thta wasn't even growing, let alone exporting, GM crops?

Many concluded that the only reasonable explanation was that NZ was acting as a US proxy. The evidence for this is piling up. Below are details of a biotech deal between NZ and Iowa, a state at the heart of the US farm belt.

No state has been harder hit than Iowa by the controversy over GMOs, with even the Americans admitting they've lost hundreds of millions of dollars in blocked corn exports. And no state was harder hit by the 'Starlink' GM disaster which contaminated over 50% of Iowa's corn crop.

In other words, no state has a greater interest in global genetic pollution escaping "unnoticed and unscathed" and NZ, it seems, is desperate to curry favour with its business partner - no matter what the global cost.

For more on what happened in Montreal:
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5344
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Iowa makes 'unique' biotech agreement with New Zealand By DONNELLE ELLER
REGISTER BUSINESS WRITER
June 22, 2005

Iowa and New Zealand have signed an agreement that will expand business and academic exchanges - and opportunities - between the state and country, Gov. Tom Vilsack said Tuesday.

Vilsack, who attended the Biotechnology Industry Organization conference in Philadelphia, said the agreement will encourage academic exchanges between New Zealand and Iowa, particularly in plant, animal and human sciences.

Iowa is a leader in developing bio-based energy, such as ethanol and biodiesel, and has academic strengths in developing pharmaceuticals, chemicals and other biotech products.

In the next year, Vilsack said, Iowa could see investment from companies in New Zealand interested in establishing a U.S. presence.

The agreement is a result of discussions and trips between Iowa and New Zealand officials that began two years ago. Vilsack said New Zealand is a good partner for Iowa because of shared "core competencies," particularly in agriculture.

The two partners also plan to co-sponsor events at next year's BIO conference, an annual meeting of thousands of biotech scientists, business leaders and government officials.

Iowa traditionally hosts the conference's final reception, this year at the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal - Pier One.

Michael Blouin, director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, said the "unique agreement" with New Zealand helps raise Iowa's growing reputation in the biotechnology community.


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