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Misinformation & The AgResearch Cattle Application

14 June 2002

Misinformation and the AgResearch Cattle Application

In a statement released earlier today GE Free NZ made false and misleading claims about ERMA New Zealand’s handling of the application from AgResearch for development work on GM cattle.

The current application replaces one which was made some time ago and withdrawn by AgResarch for legal reasons.

ERMA New Zealand has strict statutory timeframes to adhere to when dealing with applications that are publicly notified. This is to ensure that there is adequate time for public participation in the process. Letters have been sent out from ERMA New Zealand acknowledging submissions on this application since early June all with a potential hearing date indicated for early August. This potential date was indicated before the election was announced. The choice of possible dates was not influenced in any way by political considerations, and any suggestions to contrary are totally rejected.

The suggestion that the application should be referred to the (yet to be formed) Bioethics Council shows a lack of understanding of the HSNO Act. There is no provision for making such a referral and the Authority would be in breach of its statutory obligations if it tried to do so.

The AgResearch application is to develop transgenic cattle that can express functional therapeutic foreign proteins in their milk, and to develop transgenic cattle to study gene function and genetic performance. The application was publicly notified in the four main daily newspapers on 15 May 2002 and is available on the ERMA New Zealand website at www.ermanz.govt.nz. The public can make submissions until 27 June 2002. Submission forms are also available on the website. The date and location for any hearing will be announced after submissions close.


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