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Govt shows inconsistency over knowledge commitment

Dr Paul Hutchison National CRIs, Associate Health and Science Spokesperson

31 July 2001

Govt shows inconsistency over knowledge commitments

To be consistent with its so-called support for the knowledge economy and on the eve of the Knowledge Wave Conference, the Government must get in behind and support the Royal Commission on GM, National's spokesperson on CRIs and Associate Health and Science, Dr Paul Hutchison said tonight.

"It is very disappointing that Environment Minister Marian Hobbs today failed to answer my Parliamentary question as to whether the Government intended to support the major thrust of the recommendations by the Royal Commission.

"The Government has made a great deal of noise about supporting a knowledge-based future but its commitment to progressing science and technology remains far from clear.

"This year Singapore committed $1 billion of new spending to biotechnology, but the New Zealand Government increased total science spending by a pathetic $11 million. We heard much about the $100 million Venture Capital Fund, but that is to be raided from the CRIs and the State Owned Enterprises - it's by no means new money!

"According to the Prime Minister, the Royal Commission has delivered a balanced and thorough report so surely the Government must show some commitment in a realistic way.

"In the meantime, there remains is a huge vacuum in public knowledge over GM which the Greens have obviously been capitalising on.

"I strongly advocate a public education programme in schools to ensure all New Zealanders can appreciate the huge potential that biotechnology has for our country. If the Government was interested in the future it would too," Paul Hutchison said.

Ends

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