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Extension of moratorium a contradiction

Extension of moratorium a contradiction

“The Life Sciences Network welcomes the establishment of the new Sustainability Council led by Sir Peter Elworthy,” the Chairman of the Life Sciences Network, Dr William Rolleston, said today.

“We welcome their commitment to the application of science to the New Zealand economy and we’re very pleased they’ve persuaded Dr Garth Cooper to support their endeavours. Dr Cooper knows how important it is to commercialise biotechnology for New Zealand, he’s involved in the commercialisation of some of his own GM research.

“What’s so surprising then is that they’ve adopted such an unscientific position as their main objective. There’s no possibility of considered judgement in a moratorium – it’s just a blanket rejection of progress for a period of time.

“A more consistent position for them to have advocated would be to agree with the Royal Commission’s conclusion that New Zealand’s best interests were served by careful, case-by-case examination of particular proposals by the existing regulators, ERMA and ANZFA.

“This means that if there are constructive uses of GM which the regulators have assessed are safe for us to use, then there’s no impediment. Any moratorium stops that in its tracks.

“There is a lot of science to be done, but it’s far better for that science to be done in response to real proposals for commercial developments.

“The trade and investment implications of an extended moratorium are very serious for New Zealand. We are a biology based country and if overseas investors see us turning our back on carefully using the developments which can maintain our competitive advantage they will invest elsewhere – and we will become a banana republic,” concluded Dr Rolleston

ENDS

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