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Govt decision a victory for commonsense

Govt decision a victory for commonsense – but a long way still to go

The Government’s announcement on its response to the Report of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification is pragmatic and a victory for commonsense, but there’s still a long way to go before researchers and developers have certainty about the future of GM in New Zealand, the Chairman of the LSN, Dr William Rolleston said today.

“While we look forward to the resumption of field trials, the threats from the Greens to try to disrupt the normal ERMA process and from activists promising to destroy trial sites are a major concern.

“This means the interests of the country are at greater risk from the actions of a fundamentalist fringe than from GM technology.”

“None of the potential conditions flagged in the Government’s announcement are new or outside the range of conditions which have previously been considered by ERMA. We would expect ERMA to continue to base its decisions on science rather than irrational emotion.

‘The Network is pleased the Government has given a clear signal of its intention to allow commercialisation of appropriate GM products once the constraint period expires in two years time. The major uncertainty for the biotechnology community is whether this provision can be sustained following the election at the end of next year. We will be particularly interested in the outcome of that election.

“The Green Party and its supporters have failed to achieve their goal of keeping GM in the laboratory – because it was unsustainable. New Zealand needs to develop sustainable agriculture and a sustainable, knowledge based, economy. To do that we must, as the Royal Commission and Government have said, preserve our opportunities by carefully exploring all technologies and avenues open to us.

“The Government’s announcement has re-opened the door. Now the Government must set about the task of ensuring New Zealanders are well-informed about the structures which are in place to protect the public interest and safety so that those who want to derail the ongoing debate with misinformation and untruths are denied the opportunity,” concluded Dr Rolleston.


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