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Gene decisions based on emotion not science

A voluntary moratorium on genetic engineering research cannot be justified on science grounds, National's Agriculture spokesman Gavan Herlihy said today.

"Decision making on science programmes undertaken by Crown Research Institutes must not be reduced to political expediency."

Mr Herlihy was commenting on the Alliance's backdown on seeking a mandatory ban on all genetic engineering work until the Royal Commission on GMO's reports.

"The watered down voluntary moratorium is nothing but a political compromise to keep Phillida Bunkle and the Alliance quiet.

"Today's decision clearly indicates that a total moratorium could not be justified on science grounds, equally neither can a voluntary moratorium other than to provide some political comfort for the Alliance and the Greens.

"ERMA provides New Zealand with an assessment process that is second to none. Decisions on what research is done in New Zealand together with conditions imposed to address any risks should be left to ERMA and its rigorous processes, not to politicians dressing up as genetic experts.

"It is totally unacceptable that the statutory ERMA process should be subject to political interference.

"The potential benefits of gene technology to medical science, our pharmaceutical industry and our agriculture must not be put at risk by politicians making expedient decisions based on emotion not science," says Mr Herlihy.


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