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Greenpeace fears baseless

Fears expressed by Greenpeace that “potential risks of genetic pollution” may not be prevented during the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Genetic Modification are totally without foundation the Chairman of the New Zealand Life Sciences Network, Dr William Rolleston, said today.

“Greenpeace should recognise that to understand genetic modification (and its potential for good, and harm) scientists need to continue their research programmes. These can never be complete without field testing outside the laboratory.

“New Zealand already has a very robust system for managing potential risks to the environment posed by research into genetics and genetic modification. The ERMA process is very thorough and provides a high degree of confidence that all field trials are carried out within acceptable risk parameters.

“New Zealand has never had an incident where field trials involving genetic material has escaped containment. As history shows the far greater risk to the environment comes from introduction, wittingly or unwittingly, of biological species. The current threat to the national bee population from the varroa mite is a case in point. The potential damage to agriculture and horticulture from a vastly decreased bee population is substantial, though as yet unmeasured.

“It is ironic a potential solution may be through genetic modification.

“The Government’s proposed moratorium has the potential to curb valuable research for party political reasons and is in direct antithesis of good science.”

For further information:

Dr William Rolleston Francis Wevers
Chairman Executive Director
Ph (03) 6126688 (04) 9160100

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