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Government Set To Disregard $6.5M Report On GM

Friday, September 7 2001

ACT Environment Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff says it is becoming clear the Government doesn't intend to take a blind bit of notice of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification before shutting the door on GM.

"The Government's given itself three months to respond to the commission. This is to create the impression it is really digesting and considering the findings. Clearly this is a sham. Newspaper comments from Helen Clark today show the decision has already been made to dump GM.

"What we need on the GM debate is decisions based on logic and information. What we are going to get is a decision fuelled by the ill-informed hysterical attacks of the eco-fundamentalist Greens and backed up by Labour's beloved opinion polling. This is Government by opinion poll. It is a poll-driven decision that Helen Clark has made and is nothing to do with science. Helen Clark had an opportunity to show real leadership. What she has demonstrated is an unprincipled populist stance.

"Why spend $6.5 million of taxpayers' money on the most extensive inquiry of its type the world has seen when you are not prepared to consider the findings that inquiry produces?

"The biotechnology industry is set to be seriously short-changed by this Government. The industry has acted most responsibly in first implementing a voluntary moratorium on GM trials and then extending it to allow the Government time to 'consider' the commission report. Having read Ms Clark's comments today people in the industry must be wondering why they bothered.

"New Zealand is in danger of throwing away the opportunity to develop a niche for itself in technology and in growth industries which will surely be adopted in other countries. In doing so we are likely to see a further outflow of our most talented people as they seek to develop careers overseas. How can a decision to make New Zealand science-free be seen as us 'catching the knowledge wave'?"

Ends


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