Govt Inaction On Moratorium Drives Out Research
"As predicted by ACT New Zealand, the Government's paralysis in lifting the moratorium on clinical and field trials for genetically modified organisms is driving research offshore and contributing to the brain drain," says Ken Shirley, ACT's spokesman on Science and Technology.
"The Royal Commission Report cleared the way for the commencement of clinical testing and field trials but now Government must lift the moratorium and restore confidence by assuring researchers that the unnecessary cumbersome regulatory regime proposed by the Royal Commission Report will not be imposed.
"It is very sad to see the Auckland-based company Diatranz, which employs 25 people and is engaged in researching treatment for diabetes, heading overseas to undertake clinical trials.
"The process involving the transfer of cells from young piglets into humans to combat diabetes shows exciting prospects with diabetes being a major problem within New Zealand particularly among Maori.
"The Ministry of Health has now twice rejected Diatranz application for clinical trials and the Company has now option but to head offshore with countries such as the US, Sweden, Switzerland and many others encouraging clinical testing such as this.
"The Company makes the point that the xeno-transplantation process from young piglets to humans has no more genetic tampering than the average blood transfusion and the Government's rigid application of the precautionary principle provides an endless excuse to do nothing.
"This Government's commitment to the knowledge wave is nothing more than public posturing and their level of inaction will only be matched by the exodus of talent and enterprise from New Zealand," said Ken Shirley.