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GM regulations will add layers of uncertainty and

GM regulations will add layers of uncertainty and cost

The extra hurdles and fresh layers of bureaucracy being slapped on medium and high risk GM research could mean vital work is no longer carried out in this country, according to the National Party Science spokesman Dr Paul Hutchison.

"National supports the findings of the Royal Commission, but is concerned by the extra 'call-in' powers and Treaty principle amendments being added to HSNO.

"Those measures will only add more cost and make timelines even more uncertain," Dr Hutchison says.

"The changes add no value, either scientifically, or from a safety perspective.

"Investment from the private sector, which is low in New Zealand and which the Government wants to increase, will only suffer," he says.

"It's of huge concern that two AgResearch applications have cost more than $500,000 and now there's even less certainty about how long an application might take to process.

"It's also hard to see why the legislation needs to have added Treaty clauses, when the Bioethics Committee has a mandate to deal with cultural, spiritual and ethical concerns.

"Under the current system, we've already seen a simple application for gene sequencing turned down because of Maori concerns," Dr Hutchison says.

"New Zealand needs highly competent scientists with the capacity to solve problems of biosecurity and biodiversity.

"To progress the work there must be clarity in the legislation.

"The HSNO Act should be absolutely clear - the proposed Government changes only make it more uncertain," says Dr Hutchison.

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