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New Zealand Innovation Under Threat

August 29, 2002

New Zealand Innovation Under Threat

“The Wrightson decision to halt investment in genetic research in New Zealand is a real indictment of our regulatory regime,” said Chairman of the Life Sciences Network Dr William Rolleston.

“Innovation in New Zealand is in danger of becoming completely stifled by rigid and impractical regulatory conditions.

“It is critical to our future freedom and ability to be involved in beneficial research that New Zealand review its current position,” Dr Rolleston said.

The suspended research was on developing better grasses through genetic engineering (GE), and looking at the potential for transferring genetic traits between species, like frost and disease resistance.

Wrightson Group managing director Allan Freeth said the company finalised its decision to suspend investment in genetic research because of the uncertain political environment over GE.

“While there's uncertainty whether these grasses can be commercialised in the New Zealand context, there's no way you can invest in that area," Mr Freeth said.

"We can continue to investigate the gene systems we have, but the quantum leap that we may have been looking for, we are just simply not prepared to invest in that at the moment."


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