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Nats offer Government numbers on GM

Nick Smith National Environment Spokesperson

17 October 2001

Nats offer Government numbers on GM

"Biotechnology is too important to New Zealand's future to let the Greens hold the Government over a barrel," National's Environment spokesperson Nick Smith said as the Government finalises its policy on genetic technology at a key cabinet committee meeting today.

"National is willing to work constructively with the Government on upholding the key conclusion of the Royal Commission that New Zealand should adopt a 'proceed with caution' approach.

"New Zealand risks shutting out new medicines and technologies than can improve our health, economy and environment. The Greens' absolute opposition to any form of genetic technology will drive talented New Zealand scientists offshore and rob New Zealand of the opportunities of a knowledge economy.

"Government sources indicate that the moratorium on field trials will be continued for a further two years albeit rebranded as a 'constraint'. This exercise in semantics would do a huge disservice to the Royal Commission and the advice of New Zealand's eight universities," Dr Smith said.

National's Leader Bill English today wrote to the Prime Minister formalising National's willingness to engage with the Government on the Royal Commission's recommendations.

"The decision on gene technology is pivotal to New Zealand's future and the nation would be the winner from the stable policy environment if National and Labour could establish a common position.

"National is totally committed to robust independent checks on the health and safety of gene technology but rejects the extreme notion of blanket bans," Dr Smith said.


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