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Economic Sabotage Threatened

23 October 2001

For immediate release

Economic Sabotage Threatened

“Threats to block the implementation of the findings from the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification are anti growth, anti employment and a recipe for Third World status for New Zealand”, according to Philip Lewin, Chief Executive of the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Lewin was commenting on Green Party threats to block the recommendations of the Royal Commission. “The Government has invested over $6 million to produce a sound and reasoned response to the challenges of genetic modification. The Commission’s Report has identified an achievable, but conservative strategy for New Zealand. But now, the Greens threaten to relegate us to Third World status.

“Catching the Knowledge Wave has been the Government’s mantra in recent months. No single branch of science is of greater importance to this than biotechnology. Our competitive advantage is driven by flair and innovation.”

“And situated at the confluence between information technology and biotech, the Wellington region has the potential to be a centre of world-wide excellence in this area. Outfits like Ag Research, Hort Research and Massey University are already contributing impressively in this direction” Mr Lewin added.

“But with our largest private sector funder of research , Fonterra Cooperative, already looking to relocate its research activities if necessary, it is vital for the Government to move swiftly and decisively to protect our ability to be world leaders in innovation.”

“If we as a nation retreat from sound science and common sense, the negative economic consequences will be profound”, Mr Lewin concluded.

Contact: Philip Lewin 04 914 6500

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