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Science New Zealand supports national GMO regulation

Science New Zealand supports national GMO regulation

The Government proposes to amend the Resource Management Act (RMA) to confirm that it is central government that has responsibility to control genetically modified organisms (GMO) trials and releases. Science New Zealand chief executive Anthony Scott comments:

“Science New Zealand supports moves to have a single point of GMO regulation through the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

“The EPA is mandated to review proposed usages of GMOs and to put in place all necessary precautions and conditions. It operates within a very risk averse context; has clear processes developed over a decade of experience following the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification; and is able to take into account national risk and benefit.   

“Importantly, the EPA has the necessary risk assessment, legal, policy and scientific expertise and a demonstrated capability to secure wide public input in making its risk assessments. 

“No local authority can – or indeed, should seek to – duplicate such technical and public engagement expertise.  This would entail a high risk of decisions not being based on the best available information.

“Crown Research Institutes (CRI) are national.   A single CRI may carry out research in very many local body areas, as the research and potential application has to be relevant across many regions.  

“Being confronted with multiple different regulations, with each local body setting their own parameters, would impose complexity and inconsistency.

“CRIs support and respect the importance of public involvement in debates about use of various science technologies, of which GE is one.

“The EPA is the right body to facilitate this and to make balanced decisions for the benefit of New Zealand.  It makes sense to have its national role confirmed.”


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