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An Attack On Knowledge

Association Of Crown Research Institutes (Inc)

11 January 2002

The executive director of the Association of Crown Research Institutes, Anthony Scott, said that yesterday’s sabotage of research at the Crop & Food laboratories in Lincoln is “an attack upon knowledge and the proper processes of democracy in New Zealand.”

“People will have often strongly differing views upon use of genetic modification to improve the health and food of people in New Zealand and the world.

“We are fortunate that in New Zealand we have very strong institutions that enable us, as a society, to manage those debates in a constructive and open manner.

“The Royal Commission on Genetic Modification spent more than a year considering thousands of submissions; the Government spent months considering that report; Parliament will shortly commence consideration of new legislation that formalises the rules; the Environmental Risk Management Authority spends months considering applications and conditions for any research uses.

“The actions of these saboteurs says that these processes count for nothing.

“This group of self-elected heroes reserves the right to destroy the work of others, even though that work and its location has been approved by all the relevant authorities. Ironically, the sabotage shattered those precautions.

“It is an attack upon knowledge, and an attack upon the legal and legitimate processes of debate in New Zealand.

“Their actions add to the security costs for all research institutions because we do not know which research will now be declared unacceptable by any other group.

“I hope that this action will be roundly condemned by all who support proper democratic processes, whether or not they support research into or using genetic modification.

“The Crown Research Institutes are always ready to talk with those who have concerns with any of the research being undertaken. That is the democratic way.”


Notes to editors

ACRI supports the common interests of the nine Crown-owned research companies, the largest providers of scientific research in New Zealand. The CRIs undertake blue-sky and commercialised science and technology research and development for government and private sector markets in New Zealand and abroad. In the year ended 30 June 2001, CRIs achieved $482.6 million in revenues, net profit after tax of $22.8 million and employed more than 4,000 staff.

The nine CRIs are: AgResearch, Crop & Food, ESR, Forest Research, GNS, HortResearch, Industrial Research Limited, Landcare Research, NIWA.

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