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Luddite Labour Ignores GM Commission Findings

27 March 2002

The Government's HSNO Amendment Bill makes it even harder for biotechnology to develop in New Zealand, says National's Associate Research, Science and Technology spokesman Dr Paul Hutchison.

"Key research and business groups like Fonterra, Ag Research and Horticultural Research all say that the Bill will make research more difficult and drive scientists overseas. The proposed law effectively bans xenotransplantation, including the work by Diatranz which could provide hope for thousands of diabetes sufferers.

"Agricultural Research is negotiating a transgenic cow programme with UK company PPl worth $50 million, but they say because of this bill there is a high probability of the deal falling through.

"The Government has spent $6 million dollars and over a year of study on the Royal Commission, yet they Government are now ignoring the findings because they upset the Alliance and Green parties.

"Helen Clark had the gall this year to claim that Biotechnology is one of the three key areas of an "innovative economy". Yet submissions have warned that New Zealand is at risk of losing our competitive edge in the areas of agriculture, horticulture and forestry research, which are so important to our economy.

"National's position is clear - we support the recommendations of the Royal Commission. We want scientific rigour in research applications, but at the same time decreasing compliance costs and streamlining applications," said Dr Hutchison.

Ends

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