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English - Open Letter On Genetic Modification

17 October 2001

An open letter on the
Royal Commission of Inquiry on Genetic Modification

Dear Prime Minister

We are aware that the Government will soon be making decisions on the important issue of Genetic Modification. This is a key long-term strategic decision for New Zealand. I write to indicate National's willingness to constructively work with Government on upholding the key conclusion of the Royal Commission that New Zealand should adopt a "proceed with caution" approach.

National has been in discussions with universities and key industry players like Fonterra and Crown Research Institutes, where there is a heightened concern that good public policy will be compromised by coalition politics. The Greens predetermined position and insistence on a GE Free New Zealand (whatever that means) contradicts the Royal Commission's recommendations (that they insisted upon).

National makes the offer to constructively work with the Government on the Royal Commission of Inquiry recommendations in good faith. We do not want unwarranted barriers put in the way of research and development of our primary industries. We want robust environmental safeguards. We also want to enable the coexistence of all forms of agriculture. We also acknowledge the right of consumers to have choice and the importance of food labelling. We believe the Royal Commission provides the right framework in which to achieve these goals.

Investment decisions in science, research and pharmaceuticals are long term and stability in public policy is an important factor. We would be doing these industries and New Zealand a favour if National and Labour could reach agreement on the parameters governing this new science.

Yours sincerely

Hon Bill English

Leader, New Zealand National Party

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