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Science will play key role in 21st Century

30 October 2001 Media Statement

Science will play key role in 21st Century

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that the government’s response to the report of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification would ensure that science continued to play a key role in the development of New Zealand in the 21st Century.

“The decisions outlined today strike a balance between the need to protect our health and environment, and the need to have knowledge and innovation drive our future as a nation,” Helen Clark said.

“We will not close the door on science, but nor will we allow unrestricted use and development of genetically modified organisms.

“Science must be allowed to proceed because it is critical to ensuring our development as a knowledge-based nation in the 21st Century.

“But the government will ensure that biotechnological progress does not endanger New Zealanders or the environment we live in.

“That is why we are putting in place a two-year constraint period on the release of genetically modified organisms while further research is undertaken, and legislating to ensure that research occurs only under strict conditions.

“In reaching its decisions the government is heeding the Royal Commission’s call to preserve opportunities. We are also acknowledging that further work needs to be carried out so that we fully understand the implications of this science.

“In looking to where New Zealand can be in the 21st Century, the government is mindful of the role to be played by science, research and technology.

“But in keeping up to date with the latest technologies we must not compromise the health and safety of our people and our environment,” Helen Clark said.


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