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Controversial RMA clauses still in Bio-tech Bill

Controversial RMA clauses still in Bio-tech Bill

The controversial clauses that forced this week's embarrassing Government back down on the RMA must now be removed from the New Organisms and Other Matters Bill, according to the National Party.

"This piece of legislation now requires substantial change to avoid it becoming a regulatory nightmare like the Resource Management Act," says National Party Science spokesman, Dr Paul Hutchison.

"National is urging United Future Party to do for the 'New Organisms Bill' what it did for the RMA and force Labour to remove confusing phases relating to cultural and spiritual effects.

"The Government's biotechnology taskforce hopes for a $10 billion industry in ten years, and insists 'that New Zealand has a world class regulatory system that is quick and cost efficient'.

But Dr Hutchison is alarmed that in New Zealand ERMA can process the 'science' of research applications in six weeks, yet the 'bioethics' issues may take six months to infinity.

"Australia processes research applications with minimal cost and within six months, including public consultation.

"It is a huge worry to the industry's aspirations when the CEO of Therapeutics NZ says 'while each and every ERMA application for transgenic herd productions is subject to public debate, investments by biotech companies will dry up and wither away'.

In Parliament today Dr Hutchison in Parliament today called on the Minister of the Environment to apply the same logic when she removed the words 'cultural landscape' and 'spiritual resources' from the RMA, to the New Organisms Bill.

"But the Minister is refusing to take any action, despite the serious concerns and the well canvassed failings of the RMA," says Dr Hutchison.

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