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PM Misrepresents Science

13 June 2002

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister
Parliament Buildings
Wellington

Dear Helen,

You are quoted by NZPA as having said a continued moratorium on the commercial release of genetically modified organisms was "not in the interests of the Waikato ... the Waikato is going to be driven by science".

As one of this county's leading biologists to have come out of the Waikato in the last 30 years, let me assure you that you have been sadly misinformed.

I find the level of information emanating from your government vis-à-vis genetic engineering to be appalling. Worse, your people do not seem interested in real scientific debate on the matter. As I have clearly and concisely documented, your government and this university have systematically excluded my expert viewpoint from any equitable access to expression solely because I do not adhere to the outcomes of the gung-ho Knowledge Wave biotech dream that you are promulgating. I challenge you to find one other biologist of equal standing who does not have some sort of financial connection with the commercial interests that you wish to advance.

For your benefit, allow me to give you access to some very important material on the basic biology that must be taken into account in assessing the effects of genetic engineering. You can preview my soon-to-be-launched website at

http://home.clear.net.nz/pages/ken.r/expo/bio_complexity/summary.htm.

Please have your advisors study and understand this material. Until you have absorbed its content I cannot take your utterances on the benefits of commercially releasing genetically modified organisms into the environment at all seriously.

It is an extreme disappointment to me to see you refusing to address the scientific issues involved in these important questions. Please make sure that when you speak on behalf of "science" you are careful to point out that you exclude some of the this country's most innovative and original scientific thinkers.

Kia ora, --

Peter R Wills
Associate Professor
Department of Physics
University of Auckland

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