New Zealand is one of the last countries in the world to have a food-production system entirely free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). But that could change when nearly 4 million voters go to the polls this Saturday to decide whether to lift a moratorium on the use of GMOs next year. In fact, the vote will decide more than that; it will also shape national politics in the country for years to come. The debate has split the ruling leftist coalition, with the Labor Party in favor of lifting the moratorium and the Green Party bitterly opposed. The divisions run deep, sometimes even dividing husbands and wives; the nation’s Federated Farmers support GMOs, while the Rural Women’s Association does not. This issue is particularly fraught because agriculture accounts for 50 percent of the country’s economic activity.
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