Monsanto in Frying-Pan Over Terminator Technology in New Zealand

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On September 30th in Auckland, New Zealand, Monsanto officials again found themselves in the frying pan, when the Terminator ruined a pro-biotech 'tea party' that was supposed to promote genetically engineered crops. The half-day seminar was set up by Gene Pool, a local government-funded NGO with tight corporate links. The event was going as planned, with attendees delving into numerous rounds of food and drink, watching a Monsanto video extolling the company's virtues, and hearing a series of predictable speeches, when Auckland University lecturer Peter Wills took the podium.

Wills was presumably invited as a token alternative view so that Gene Pool could claim some semblance of balance in the meeting. Chris Wheeler, an Auckland activist and past president of the New Zealand Soils and Health Association, slipped into the pricey meeting on a press pass and reports that Wills delivered much more than Gene Pool expected. After questioning the wisdom of Monsanto's agbiotech strategies, which provoked many concerned comments from the audience, Wheeler says things really got hot when Wills blasted the Terminator. At that point, a visibly flustered Murray Willocks, Monsanto's New Zealand Business Manager, took the floor and tried to distance the company from its own technology, saying "The Terminator is just a concept." and "We have no plans for the Terminator Technology at this time."

Wheeler's account of the ensuing exchange is that the red-faced Willocks "went into confused messages mode, trying to establish the impression that Monsanto had acquired the technology merely as a spin-off from a recent acquisition [Delta and Pine Land] and that there were no direct plans to actually use it." At the meeting's end, Wills was surrounded by attendees wanting to talk about the Terminator.

More information about Monsanto Terminator Seed Dangers.

[Posted by Chris Wheeler]