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The beginning or the end of GM technology in NZ?

“Co-existence” - the beginning or the end of GM technology in NZ?

A workshop for the news media

Meat New Zealand Board Room, 11th Floor Wool House, Brandon Street

Tuesday 23 April 2002, 9 a.m. - 12. 30 p.m.

Following the report of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification the Government has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to investigate the development of an industry code of practice to ensure effective separation distances between genetically modified and non-modified crops.

The very notion of co-existence between GM and organic crops is rejected by organic certifiers, who contend it is impossible to establish buffer zones and separation distances which protect organic crops because of pollen drift and horizontal gene transfer.

Scientists and agri-business leaders say new technologies are essential for developing strategies to improve the environmental and economic sustainability of farming practice as well as the world’s food supply.

As the debate about New Zealand’s use of genetic modification heats up again in election year what are hard-pressed journalists to make of these vital issues? To help journalists get to grips with the “co-existence” debate the NZ Journalists Training Organisation and the Life Sciences Network have brought together a range of local and international experts to put the issue into context.

Assistant Professor Doug Powell teaches in the Department of Plant Agriculture at University of Guelph in Ontario Canada. He is a recognized global expert on technology and food and directs the internationally acclaimed Food Safety Network.

He will be joined on the speakers panel by

- Jon Carapiet of GE-Free New Zealand,

- Segar Mason of Bio-Gro Organic certifiers,

- Mike Dunbier, former CEO Crop & Food Research

- Neil Barton, Chairman of the Grains Council of New Zealand


9 a.m. -9.05 a.m.

Introduction: Francis Wevers, Executive Director LSN

9.05 - 9.40

Co-existence - the threat to organic production from GM crops

Segar Mason, BioGro

9.40 - 10.15

NZ “Clean and Green” - can we co-exist?

Jon Carapiet GE Free NZ

10.15 - 10.30

Morning Tea

10.30 - 11.05

Co-existence - a farm management issue

Neil Barton, Grains Council of NZ

11.05 - 11.30

Some new technology solutions to separate organic and GM crops

Mike Dunbier, Dunbier Associates

11.30 - 12.00

Co-existence issues - putting the New Zealand issue into a global context

Dr Doug Powell, University of Guelph

12.00 - 12.30

Question time

Chaired by Bill Southworth, NZJTO

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