Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Win-win for environment and research

30 October 2001

Media Statement

Win-win for environment and research

Government decisions following the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification will ensure environmental protection while allowing necessary research to be undertaken, the Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs said today.

"No genetically modified organisms will be released for at least the next two years except if they are specifically approved to protect health and no GM food will be grown in New Zealand for the forseeable future," Marian Hobbs said. "But we will maintain our edge in biotechnology and medical research by ensuring research can continue under contained conditions with mandatory controls and monitoring.

"We already have the strictest controls in the world for contained research and we are making them stronger.

"We will legislate to require the Environmental Risk Management Authority to impose the strictest possible safety standards on applications approved for contained research rather than allow ERMA discretion in the exercise of its powers."

Marian Hobbs said the government accepted the broad outline of the Royal Commission's strategy, preserving opportunities and proceeding with caution, but did not accept all the proposals for implementing that strategy.

A two-year constraint period will apply on commercial release but contained research under laboratory-type conditions will be permitted on a case-by-case basis. Legislation will be passed to implement the constraint period and ensure that ERMA applies strict health and environmental safeguards.

During the constraint period work will also be done to establish a Bioethics Council, as recommended by the Commission.

"We strongly endorsed this recommendation," Marian Hobbs said. "The Bioethics Council will play a vital role in cultural, ethical and spiritual issues, which are right up there alongside our concern for the health of our society."

Other work over the next two years will consider: · the economic impact of the release of any GM crop on the strategy of preserving opportunities · conditional release and co-existence of GM with different forms of agriculture · a biotechnology strategy · liability issues

The balance of the Commission's recommendations will be considered by ministers in the next week.

"I am pleased the government has taken the precautionary approach," Marian Hobbs said. "I consider the Royal Commission presented us with a balanced report and thorough consideration of the issues.

"We are preserving opportunities for New Zealand and over the next two years we will work to more fully understand genetic modification so that we can move forward safely."

Summary of government decisions and FAQs available from the Ministry for the Environment website: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/new/inquiry_into_geneticmod.htm

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Minister of Finance: Plan Shows $100 Billion Infrastructure Projects

Finance Minister Bill English has today launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows a pipeline of $100.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade. More>>


Werewolf: Safe Landings Gordon Campbell on the safety challenge to the Wellington runway extension.

The safety-related legal challenge revolves around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. More>>


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Plastic Bag Activism, And Street Harassment

Amusing to see the Act Party experiencing another outbreak of young fogey-ism. What has aroused the ire of Act Leader David Seymour this time is the introduction of a Greens private members bill to the ballot process, calling for a 15 cents levy on plastic bags to reduce pollution. More>>


Unclear Weapons: US Navy Ship Cleared To Visit NZ For Navy's 75th

United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key... “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news