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Anderton welcomes Royal Commission report

30 July 2001 Media Statement

Anderton welcomes Royal Commission report


Alliance leader Jim Anderton has welcomed the Royal Commission report on genetic modification.

And he's challenging all parties in Parliament to respond to the Commission's recommendations on the basis of its findings, not on the basis of pre-determined ideology.

"There is no sense in demanding facts and then rejecting the facts because they don't suit the ideology," Jim Anderton said.

The Alliance was the first party to raise genetic modification issues in Parliament following the 1996 general election. The Royal Commission and moratorium arose directly from a Members Bill repeatedly brought into Parliament by the Alliance in Opposition.

"The Royal Commission both vindicated concerns that science in the area remains uncertain, and charted a way forward. No one wants three-headed cows, and nor do many New Zealanders want to live without the benefits of genuine scientific progress," Jim Anderton said.

"The Royal Commission has stated clearly that there are considerable potential benefits from GM, but that these must be balanced against the need to be careful and to preserve options for the future."

The Alliance will make decisions over the next month on the Royal Commission's recommendations and its policy will contribute to the Coalition Government's work programme, which is expected to commence in August. Key issues include establishing a Parliamentary Commissioner on Biotechnology and a Bioethics Council; better resources for research in to sustainable agriculture; and the question of commercial release.

Jim Anderton is warning against more scare-mongering on the GM issue.

"When the voluntary moratorium was announced, there were elements in Parliament who loudly condemned the government and declared that the moratorium would never work. They have been proved totally wrong."

ENDS

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