The proposed changes to the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996 announced today will now go to the Parliamentary Counsel Office to be drafted into a bill. That is scheduled to be introduced to Parliament by the middle of April and to be referred to a select committee where the public will again have an opportunity to make submissions on the proposed legislation.
The Committee is expected to report back to Parliament by the end of August with any changes it believes need to be made before it moves to its final stages in the House. The aim is to have the amended act passed into law by October.
That is when a two-year constraint period preventing the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) from considering applications to release new GM organisms expires. The constraint period was agreed to by Parliament in 2001 to give New Zealand the time to prepare the law changes required to enact the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.
To date, no GM
organisms have ever been approved for release in New