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Scientist Group Offers Voluntary GMO Moratorium

NZ Life Sciences Network offers voluntary moratorium on GMO’s during Royal Commission


The Government has been offered a voluntary moratorium on applications for commercial release of genetically modified organisms while the Royal Commission inquiring into genetic engineering completes its business.

The New Zealand Life Sciences Network which represents a wide range of organisations involved in biotechnology and science has made the offer following consultation with participants in the network. The offer was announced today by the interim Chairman of the NZ Life Sciences Network, Dr William Rolleston.

“We wanted to acknowledge public concerns and felt a moratorium volunteered by the industry would ensure the Government would be able to avoid the legislative difficulties inherent in imposing a moratorium,” said Dr Rolleston.

“It would also mean the Royal Commission could canvas the issues before it without having to deal with the fall-out arising from an imposed moratorium.

“The moratorium would initially be for one year but it would be reviewed in light of progress being made by the Royal Commission. It does not include applications to the Environmental Risk Management Authority for field trials because we believe the Authority’s current rules on containment provide a very high degree of environmental and public safety.

“Life Sciences Network members have an interest in ensuring the Royal Commission thoroughly examines the risks and benefits associated with gene technology and its application in agriculture and medicine. Offering a voluntary moratorium on applications for commercial release of GMO’s is a clear public indication of our commitment to the Government’s initiative, and our commitment to an open and rational debate.” concluded Dr Rolleston.

Issued on Thursday 3 February 2000


For further information contact:
Dr William Rolleston
Interim Chairman
NZ Life Sciences Network
Ph (03) 612 6688

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