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Supporting Science In New Zealand

19th July 2002

Supporting Science In New Zealand

National is the only major political party that has supported evidence-based science consistently, says National's Biotechnology spokesman Dr Paul Hutchison.

"National's Biotechnology and Crown Research Institutes policy recognises the key place science has in ensuring our food is safe, our environment is clean, and the significant role it plays in our vital agriculture and horticulture industries. Science is an important key to unlocking New Zealand's future economic prosperity.

"Under Labour 41 key biotechnology jobs at Horticultural Research have been lost, in an area we should be encouraging. National recognises that research requires medium to long term planning. We will insist that MORST and FORST reflect this in their funding system, rather than switching funding for short-term expediency. Core science funding must be maintained in a predictable and consistent way so that New Zealand retains a critical number of strategic scientists.

"National's position on Genetic Modification is clear - we support the major recommendations of the Royal Commission. This expert body cost $6.2 million, sat for 14 months, and heard detailed scientific testimony from all points of view. It would be a tragic waste of time and money to ignore their hard work, as the Green Party advocates.

"We must also cut through some of the red tape holding up science research applications by ensuring the proposed bioethics committee has efficient time lines for processing applications".

"New Zealand needs more secondary school science teachers, and we must reward excellence by expanding post-doctoral research funding and scholarships to PhD students," said Dr Hutchison.


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