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Report of the Royal Commission on GM

30 July 2001 Media Statement

Report of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification

Prime Minister Helen Clark today released the report of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.

“It is the most wide-ranging inquiry into genetic modification ever undertaken in any country, and the government thanks the commission for the balanced and thorough report it has produced,” Helen Clark said.

“The manner in which the arguments have been examined enables us all to have a better understanding of the issues.

"The major theme of the report is 'preserving opportunities'. It rejects the idea of New Zealand being free of all genetically modified material at the one extreme, and the option of unrestricted use of genetic modification at the other.

“The scale of the consultative exercise was impressive. The commission received more than 10,000 submissions. The government is satisfied that a wide cross-section of New Zealanders have had an input into the inquiry.

"Genetic modification is a serious subject and the government will now carefully consider the commission’s recommendations before responding.

“New Zealanders can be reassured that we will not be rushed into making decisions about the future application of genetic technologies.

"The report states that New Zealand would be unwise to turn its back on the opportunities of the 21st century if we wish to create greater prosperity.

“The Labour-Alliance government is committed to a more dynamic economy driven by education, innovation, research and technology.

"But we will not allow the health and safety of New Zealanders to be compromised in pursuit of that.

"As well as weighing up the economic and social benefits and the risks of genetic modification, we will have regard to the cultural, ethical, environmental and international implications.

“The Cabinet has today discussed the process for formulating its response to this report.

“The government will respond to the report by 31 October and officials are developing a work programme for the next three months.

"That work programme will be outlined in a paper that the Minister for the Environment will take to Cabinet before the end of August on the voluntary moratorium and any other matters.

“The commission’s report provides an excellent foundation for the government to make decisions about this critical field of scientific endeavour,” Helen Clark said.


ENDS

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