Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Flawed figures no basis for decision making

A leading economist has slammed figures put out by the new Sustainability Council of NZ as absolute nonsense.

The Council has contended that New Zealand will be taking a much greater risk than other nations if it adopts GM agriculture.

“Nearly half New Zealand’s export income comes from agricultural products. This means that for NZ, the risk of adopting GM agriculture is five times greater than typical OECD nations,” Council chairman Sir Peter Elworthy said.

However, economist Adolf Stroombergen, from Infometrics, called the figures ridiculous. “It’s like saying if my house is five times bigger than someone else’s, my financial risk from loss due to an earthquake is five times higher. Is this the level of quantitative analysis we can expect from the Sustainability Council?”

“One might equally say that we run five times the risk of not benefiting from GE technology by extending the moratorium.”

Sir Peter said that while Europe is New Zealand’s biggest customer for agricultural products, the majority of Europeans did not want to eat GM food.

Mr Stroombergen said the literature did not always adequately portray consumer desires. “Most consumer attitudes on this issue are very poorly worded and reveal absolutely nothing about how consumers would behave when confronted with real alternatives in product characteristics at different prices.”

There were already many GE crops in Europe, Mr Stroombergen said.

“Commercial GM crops have been grown in Portugal, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Germany (plus farm-scale trials in Britain). It’s reported Germany grew large areas (estimated to be up to 50,000 ha) of Bt maize last year.

“Clearly organics and GM can co-exist in Europe - why should we compromise on the advantages of GM has to offer, when Europeans already utilise both GM and organic production methods?

“Why should NZ be GE-free when Europeans want both worlds in their own backyard?

The Sustainability Council quoted a study done 2 years ago by Professor Caroline Saunders of Lincoln University. The research, which was presented to the Royal Commission, purported to show that New Zealand could be expected to obtain higher returns for its food exports if it were not a GM producer than if it embraced GM agriculture.

However, Mr Stroombergen said Ms Saunders’ study did not consider the impacts on a wider economy, only on agriculture.

“Even then, the results are questionable as there are many international studies which show an economic benefit to farmers from GE technology.”

“In addition, price premia for organic products are often negative as well as temporary.

“The Royal Commission considered the Saunders study and wasn’t sufficiently persuaded by it to vary or amend its principle recommendation, that we make careful progress with GM to keep our options open.

“It is also worth repeating that the Royal Commission did not recommend a moratorium,” Mr Stroombergen said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Ministerial Inquiry: Broad Look At Mental Health And Addiction Services

The Government has taken a major step towards improving mental health and addiction services with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing details of a ministerial inquiry.

The Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction will be chaired by former Health and Disability Commissioner, Professor Ron Paterson, and will report back to the Government by the end of October. More>>


Wealth: Two NZers Own More Than Poorest 30%

A staggering 28 per cent of all wealth created in New Zealand in 2017 went to the richest 1 per cent of Kiwis, while the 1.4 million people who make up the poorest 30 per cent of the population got barely 1 per cent, according to new research released by Oxfam. More>>


Employment: Joint Working Group On Pay Equity Principles Reconvened

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Iain Lees-Galloway, and Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, are reconvening the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles as the next step in pay equity for New Zealand women. More>>


Hapū: Prime Minister And Clarke Gayford Expecting First Child

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford, have announced that they are expecting their first child in June. “We’re both really happy. We wanted a family but weren’t sure it would happen for us, which has made this news unexpected but exciting." More>>


Gordon Campbell: on the inquiry into the abuse of children in care

Apparently, PM Jacinda Ardern has chosen to exclude faith-based institutions from the government’s promised inquiry into the abuse of children in state care. Any role for religious institutions – eg the Catholic Church – would be only to observe and to learn from any revelations that arise from the inquiry’s self-limiting focus on state-run institutions… More >>

Gordon Campbell: On Jim Anderton
For anyone born after 1975, it is hard to grasp just how important a figure Jim Anderton was, for an entire generation.
During the mid to late 1980s, Anderton was the only significant public figure of resistance to the Labour government’s headlong embrace of Thatcherism...More>>


Gong Time: New Year's Honours List

Jacinda Ardern today congratulated the 179 New Zealanders named on the 2018 New Year’s Honours List. “Although this list was compiled and completed by the last government, it is a pleasure to welcome in the New Year by recognising exceptional New Zealanders,” Jacinda Ardern said. More
Full list

Roads: National launches bid to save highway projects

The National Party has launched a series of petitions aimed at saving regional highway projects at risk because of the Government’s obsession with Auckland trams…More>>





Featured InfoPages