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The High Court’s Decision – No Knockout

Far from being a blow to the way GM science is being done in New Zealand, the decision of the High Court in Wellington was, at worst, a reprimand to the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) for getting its paper work wrong the Chairman of the Life Sciences Network, Dr William Rolleston said today.

“More importantly the decision was a defeat for the appellants on almost all of the main points of their case. Their complaints that ERMA had not properly considered Maori and spiritual issues, disposal and the cautionary approach were not upheld and the written decision resounds with the judgement that “no error at law existed.”

“In many ways this decision is a significant win for the ERMA process and more importantly for AgResearch and its research programme.”

“Calls from the Green Party and some of the appellants to slaughter the cattle ignore the fact that they failed in all the major points they were arguing. Careful reading of the decision shows that ERMA’s decision was not flawed in all its major respects. What they got wrong was their failure to refer to their methodology and set out the criteria for decision making in the written decision.”

“The approval has been set aside and ERMA has been instructed to consider again, this time making the methodology and criteria transparent in the final decision. They will consider their options about how they go through the process again. The Network believes it is important to get the decision process right and therefore ERMA should not rush. After all none of the issues the Court has determined have to be re-examined.

“To take the extraordinary step of stopping the research because of a legal technicality would be irresponsible, “ concluded Dr Rolleston.

For further information, contact:

Dr William Rolleston
Francis Wevers
Chairman
Executive Director
Phone 03 612 6688 Phone
04 916 0100
Mobile 025 246 0634
Mobile 021 916010

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