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Govt Obstruction Loses NZ Company To Australia

15 July 2002

Government obstructions to future research have forced diabetes research company Diatranz to move to Australia, National Biotechnology Spokesperson Dr Paul Hutchison said today.

"This Diatranz research has helped many diabetes sufferers and should have been allowed to continue in New Zealand.

"This company is taking its research and 20 jobs to Australia because the Government made a huge fuss about a very small possibility of xenotransplantation causing a public health risk in New Zealand.

"It is ironic that the same Government allows refugees into New Zealand from high-risk AIDS areas without testing for HIV until after they have entered New Zealand. (Australia requires testing at the point of origin).

"New Zealand should be proactive in creating a good environment for research in biotechnology. While we must meet strict scientific requirements, it is important not to be obstructive as the Ministry of Health and the Government seem to have been in this case with Diatranz.

"The Australians have been rigorous with standards but proactive. Now they are gaining this company at New Zealand's expense.

"The Labour Government's obstructiveness has lost New Zealand a research company that is potentially on the brink of success. Instead of sending scientists overseas, which is also occurring because of the GE moratorium, the Government should be encouraging research companies and scientists to further their work here," Dr Hutchison said.

Ends

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