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Shutting Ourselves Off From the Biotech Revolution

Shutting Ourselves Off From the Biotech Revolution

Monday 29 Oct 2001 Ken Shirley Press Releases -- Environment & Conservation

"Passing laws to extend the GE moratorium and imposing restrictive laws on field trials will cast New Zealand as a nation of quaint yokels as we progressively shut ourselves off from the bio-tech revolution," says ACT New Zealand's Science and Technology and Health Spokesman Ken Shirley.

"GE is seamless across living organisms. It is scientific nonsense to suggest that it is okay for medical practices and high profile conservation projects but not for animal and plant welfare purposes and food production.

"The insertion of human genes into yeast cells to produce insulin to treat diabetes is critical for many New Zealanders. Equally, the application of vaccines processed from cowpox providing immunity against smallpox helped rid the world of this scourge, which has claimed more lives than all wars.

"We now have the threat of a further global smallpox outbreak and again should apply the latest technology to combat this horror should it eventuate.

"Genetically modified food products, whether derived from plants or animals, pose no greater threat to the environment and the benefits to human kind parallel the advances made by applying gene biotechnology to medicine.

"The immunisation of a tamarillo crop against the tamarillo mosaic virus in a Northland field trial was an overwhelming success and this technique should be applied to all tamarillo crops.

"Plants provide the fuel for the New Zealand economy with 53% of our total exports dependant on plant growth. Tremendous ecological, environmental and economic advantages can be made through the appropriate application of gene technology and yet once more New Zealand is poised to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," concluded Ken Shirley.


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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