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Funding bias towards GE is unethical

It is a tragedy for New Zealand's clean, green image that science funding appears increasingly weighted towards genetic engineering, Green Party Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today.

Mr Ewen-Street was responding to news of a leaked document which shows official science funding may be pulled out of some areas of traditional agricultural research. Institute of Agricultural Science president Jacqueline Rowarth is quoted saying she fears new areas like genetic research will be favoured at the expense of traditional areas.

"I have been deeply concerned for some time that the Foundation for Research Science and Technology is biased towards genetic engineering and that it favourably views any work undertaken with the technology, no matter what the trade consequences for New Zealand's reputation abroad," Mr Ewen-Street said.

"Also, I find it unethical, that before waiting for the outcome of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, the funding body seems to want to divert even more money into genetic engineering and other biotechnology work. This area is already soaking up nearly a third of the state's science funding, in other words using taxpayers' money for research which most taxpayers disapprove of.

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