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Federated Farmers' LifeSciences Push To Loosen GE Regulation Is A Threat To Farmers And Exports

Pressure on the government from the Life Sciences Summit and Federated Farmers for the de-regulation and release of GE crops is a disservice to the public of Aotearoa/ New Zealand.

Lobbying for de-Regulation of GE is misguided. Fed Farmers leading proponents have a conflict of interest in actively promoting genetic engineering, while also being funded by LifeScience Network, holding chair of government funding Ministries and owning patents on the technology.

“Proponents of GE are often motivated by Intellectual Property ownership, seeking to clip the ticket. Recent health dangers have been ignored and crops have failed to yield meaningful long term environmental results,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-Free NZ.

"Farmers are being strung along with future promises of unproven GE technology that is short sighted, less effective than existing natural crops and hooks them into license fees for patented pesticide dependent plants,"

There is a history of cavalier attitudes of GE research staff, many breaches and failure to produce results that has led to six GE field trials shutting down early. GE brassica plants were susceptible to unidentified black fungus causing their stems to rot. GE onions failed to grow, GE salmon had serious deformities and GE spruce trees were stunted and destroyed. [1]

New Zealand's reputation has also been threatened by AgResearch’s continuing expensive and cruel genetic engineering of sentient farm animals, which has been a failure. [2]

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Development of GE rye grass has cost New Zealand taxpayers $25 million dollars for 5 years of research. The outcome has been poor at best and very disappointing compared to existing alternatives for farmers to reduce methane. [3]

“ GE Animal experiments continue to deform and kill hundreds of animals forcing them to live a life of misery” said Claire Bleakley.

"The AgResearch results show that the $ millions should have been spent on research whose outcomes addressed truly sustainable practices such as regenerative organic systems."

Climate change is real and climate change practices need to harness the existing agroecological solutions, like the planting of mixed forage and legumes, to reduce methane emissions. [4] [5]

It is also clear that as well as delaying action, patented GE technology could not be controlled if it was released. The recent devastating Cyclone Gabrielle wind and flood damage would have spread GE contamination across our most productive core of farmland, destroying organic sector and farmers who want to grow GE Free. [6][7]

Fed Farmers want to wait for GE technical fixes instead of taking real action on climate change that is available to us now. The push to accept genetically engineered (GE) plants created from unproven and tested gene editing technologies is delaying climate action by ignoring available alternatives better able to reduce emissions and ensure economic success through export of safe, natural food.

Federated Farmers actually shows they are not interested in New Zealand but their own shortsighted mercenary self-interest. It is a credit to Government that they are rejecting changes to legislation that would weaken environmental protection or undermine capacity to grow and export safe, clean and natural food.
[1] GE field Trial Breaches in NZ,
[2] GE Animals; the First 15 Years,
[3] OIA documents AgResearch Rye Grass Trials,

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