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


Govt announces proposals for genetic modification

Government announces proposals for genetic modification regulation

The government has announced changes it wants to make to the main legislation covering genetic modification (GM) in the latest step in its programme to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.

The proposed changes are to the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996 and related Acts. They are designed to underpin the government's overall policy of proceeding with caution with GM while preserving opportunities.

"The decisions will give New Zealand an extended regulatory framework to allow it to better take advantage of the social and economic benefits of genetically-modified and other new organisms, which we may choose to use, while at the same time ensuring potential risks are managed effectively," Environment Minister, Marian Hobbs said.

The changes being proposed include a new category of approval for new organisms, including genetically-modified organisms, called 'conditional release'.

"This new category would ensure a regulatory framework is maintained for new organisms by allowing the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) to attach controls on a case-by-case basis to any approvals to release new organisms," Marian Hobbs said.

"It would allow the ERMA to consider applications to conduct certain research outside strict containment such as monitoring the impacts of released organisms. It would also allow ERMA to impose controls designed, for example, to prevent the dissemination of the organism into the wider environment. The conditional release category would also allow ERMA to specify where and how organisms are used.

"This will not automatically mean that all new organisms will be approved for conditional release and it will certainly not mean that GM organisms will automatically be released. "To back up the cautious approach inherent in this new category, measures are also being introduced to enforce the rules and provide for deterrent penalties against those who breach them." Other proposed changes to the act would streamline the approval process for the import and development of low-risk genetically modified organisms in contained laboratory conditions. The system for medicines that contain new organisms would also be simplified for those meeting the criteria for 'low-risk', with those products needing only one approval rather than the two required at the moment.

There is also provision for a rapid approval system for products required urgently to deal with a human or animal health or biosecurity emergency.

Cultural, spiritual and ethical effects have also been added to the list of circumstances under which the Minister for the Environment may step in to decide on an application to develop or release a new organism or hazardous substance – a process known as Ministerial call-in.

Another set of amendments is designed to improve the way the Act operates for decision making on new organisms in the light of experience with the Act since 1998. The law change proposals are the latest step in a series of government decisions implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.

These include the establishment of Toi te Taiao: The Bioethics Council, public funding for research into the environmental, economic and social implications of genetic modification, and setting up a review of the ERMA to ensure it has the expertise and resources it needs to make decisions on GM research, development and use.

The government is also drawing up a comprehensive strategy setting out a vision and goals for biotechnology (including GM) in New Zealand.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news