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ERMA briefing released

ERMA briefing released

The government is engaged in a comprehensive followup to the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said today when releasing ministerial briefing papers from the Environmental Risk Management Authority.

"This includes the establishment of the Bioethics Council, more research into GM, streamlining the approval process for laboratory work and investigating issues like liability for accidents and changes to legislation," Marian Hobbs said.

ERMA said a more comprehensive platform for future regulation and implementation of GM technology is needed.

Marian Hobbs said aspects of ERMA's operations are to be reviewed following the co-operation agreement between the Labour-led government and the Green Party. Terms of reference will be developed in consultation with the Greens and ERMA.

"ERMA is there for more than considering GM applications," Marian Hobbs said. "It has a key role in maintaining public safety involving hazardous substances. We are in transition as existing substances are transferred to the HSNO framework."

In its briefing ERMA said it needed an extra $4 million a year on top of current funding of $ 5.3 million to carry out its functions.

"ERMA's situation has been kept under review as the transfer of hazardous substances occurs but its case will be examined by Treasury," Marian Hobbs said. "Biotechnology offers exciting opportunities for the New Zealand economy and we will ensure there's a sound framework to take these opportunities and make the most of them – without compromising our health, safety, our environment and our future as an innovative New Zealand."

The briefing is available on: or http://

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