Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Rotorua GE Tree Trial Remains Environment Threat

Media Release
Attention; Forestry, Agriculture, NGO, Environmental, Trade, Science, Local Body, and Government Reporters.
Soil & Health Association of New Zealand
(Est. 1941)
Publishers of ORGANIC NZ

Click to enlarge

16 March 2008

Rotorua GE Tree Trial Remains An Environmental Threat.

The GE tree field trial at Rotorua, run by Crown research institute Scion, has an increasing risk of spreading GE pollen according to the Soil & Health Association.

“Scion, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ), and ERMA are continuing to allow GE pine trees to grow in a way that makes GE pollen dispersal all the more likely,” says Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning.

According to research from Duke University’s Center on Global Change, which has studied pollen from GE conifer trees, the pollen from transgenic pines can spread more than a thousand miles, leading to as they put it, “substantial ... subsequent colonization.”

Following the Soil & Health alert of Scion’s not meeting the conditions of ERMA’s consent, and following a breach by protestors of the GE field trial’s security fence and the cutting down of 19 experimental trees, Scion has taken some corrective actions, but it has left trees unpruned to approximately 4.5 metres (Photographs attached, higher resolution available).

Click to enlarge

The ERMA consent requires that the pinus radiata experimental trees are ‘hedged’ at two metres with the central leader allowed to grow to 5 metres. This was to allow detection of male pollen producing structures and the larger female seed bearing cones.

“At two metres most growing tips (where male pollen producing structures occur) would be visible by a Scion researcher or the MAFBNZ auditor. However with the trees now bushy and more than 4.5 metre tall, observation by use of a ladder is quite different from at standing level and makes pollen release just a matter of time.”

“ERMA regards the issue as one to be worked through by Scion and MAFBNZ, but we urge ERMA to ensure the consent requirements are being met. Not hedging at two metres is a clear and very risky breach of consent conditions.”

MAFBNZ have the audit function over GE trials and carried out the investigation of the cutting down of GE trees and of Soil & Health’s concerns.

Soil & Health had reported poor management and auditing of the field trial, of rabbits freely entering the trial, of tractor mowing of GE prunings with no equipment clean down, and of trees not being correctly pruned.

“The MAFBNZ investigation report showed complicity between the decision making agency ERMA, the audit agency MAFBNZ, and the researcher Scion. On the positive side, they have now dealt with the rabbit issues and have erected a fenced area to contain prunings and dead trees ahead of incineration, however what is probably the riskiest aspect, that of potential pollen dispersal, has not been addressed.”

“It must be asked, what is to happen when ERMA and MAFBNZ allow a GE researcher such as Scion to consistently breach the conditions of what must be regarded as a very privileged permission, to field test GE organisms in New Zealand? ”

Soil & Health is opposed to all GE field trials in New Zealand and has a vision of an Organic 2020.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


DIY: Kiwi Ingenuity And Masking Tape Saves Chick

Kiwi ingenuity and masking tape has saved a Kiwi chick after its egg was badly damaged endangering the chick's life. The egg was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DOC worker with a large hole in its shell and against all odds has just successfully hatched. More>>


Trade: Key To Lead Mission To India; ASEAN FTA Review Announced

Prime Minister John Key will lead a trade delegation to India next week, saying the pursuit of a free trade agreement with the protectionist giant is "the primary reason we're going" but playing down the likelihood of early progress. More>>



MYOB: Digital Signatures Go Live

From today, Inland Revenue will begin accepting “digital signatures”, saving businesses and their accountants a huge amount of administration time and further reducing the need for pen and paper in the workplace. More>>

Oil Searches: Norway's Statoil Quits Reinga Basin

Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned oil company, has given up oil and gas exploration in Northland's Reinga Basin, saying the probably of a find was 'too low'. More>>


Modern Living: Auckland Development Blowouts Reminiscent Of Run Up To GFC

The collapse of property developments in Auckland is "almost groundhog day" to the run-up of the global financial crisis in 2007/2008 as banks refuse to fund projects due to blowouts in construction and labour costs, says John Kensington, the author of KPMG's Financial Institutions Performance Survey. More>>


Health: New Zealand's First ‘No Sugary Drinks’ Logo Unveiled

New Zealand’s first “no sugary drinks logo” has been unveiled at an event in Wellington... It will empower communities around New Zealand to lift their health and wellbeing and send a clear message about the damage caused by too much sugar in our diets. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news