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No need for GE in otherwise positive strategy

24 February 2006

No need for GE in otherwise positive Agresearch strategy

Agresearch's announcement outlining their long term vision for ensuring the prosperity of the agricultural and biotechnology sectors is this week being welcomed by the Green Party, with one reservation.

The '2020 Science' strategy incorporates five Big Ideas to keep New Zealand prosperous over the next 14 years, and is being promoted through a brochure and DVD.

"Unfortunately the DVD is not downloadable from the website, so I am eagerly awaiting a copy, but the ideas outlined in the brochure and press release are, for the most part, worth supporting," Green Party Sustainable Land Management Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos says.

"Many farmers are already aware of the need to consciously include ecological values in their land management practises. Agresearch will play a crucial role in helping farmers make good decisions that keep them profitable while still sustaining the land for future generations.

"It's great to see Agresearch taking on a goal like 'halving the costs and impacts on the environment' of dairy production.

However, the Green Party is concerned that transgenic genetic engineering, such as the use of cows to produce human proteins for biopharmaceuticals, still seems to have a key place in the thinking of Agresearch.

"While we welcome a strong biotechnology sector, and believe it has an important role to play, we are disappointed that despite the strong international public reaction against this kind of work, Agresearch is determined to push ahead with transgenic genetic engineering.

"We can do without it. Not all biotechnology is genetic engineering, and it doesn't need to release live organisms or confuse the production of food and pharmaceuticals in a way that would be very dangerous to our food exports.

"There are a number of very valuable ideas contained in the 2020 Science strategy. Lets hope they don't get lost in the controversy over producing human proteins in cows," Nandor says.

ENDS

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