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Anderton's Remarks Destabilising Industry

Dairy Farmers of New Zealand Chairman Charlie Pedersen today slammed the suggestion from Alliance Leader Jim Anderton that the Alliance could overturn the Environmental Risk Management Authority's (ERMA) decision to allow genetic modification of dairy cattle.

AgResearch gained ERMA approval to do research in complete containment. This approval does not in any way allow for the release or use of the modified genes that may or may not be produced depending on the success of the research."

"Its frightening stuff that a political figure of Mr Anderton's standing would advocate the abandonment of the legitimate legal process for considering such research."

"Mr Anderton must reconsider his remarks. A powerful politician, who could be in the next government, saying that the results of an legal process will be overturned destroys any confidence that the dairy industry has in government."

New Zealand has carefully developed Hazardous Substances and New Organisms legislation to remove the possibility of political expediency over-riding sound decision making.

"Mr Anderton may not like this result, but then he did not sit on the ERMA panel and hear the submissions."

"How can businesses or consumers have any confidence when politicians are prepared to overturn the results of a legally constituted, independent expert panel."

"I predict that such an unstable regulatory environment will only serve to drive new investment from New Zealand's largest business, the New Zealand dairy industry, off-shore," Mr Pedersen concluded.

The approved research envisages manipulating the cow's genes to change the composition of milk to improve its nutritive value and to reduce the allergenic effect on some consumers.

ENDS

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