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Court appeals on GE cows could damage NZ research

Court appeals on GE cows could damage NZ research

Dr Paul Hutchison - National Biotechnology Spokesperson

The Environmental Risk Management Authority’s decision to allow the Ag Research application for a development project involving human and other species genes in cows is very good for New Zealand, says National’s biotechnology spokesperson Dr Paul Hutchison.

“The Royal Commission on GE expressed confidence in ERMA and it is impressive that they have delivered a considered and comprehensive decision within a relatively short time-frame,” said Dr Hutchison.

The project is to be carried out with highly sophisticated containment facilities and will be monitored extremely closely.

“It is absolutely vital for New Zealand research and development that projects such as this are not sabotaged through the courts by inappropriate non-scientific appeals.

“That has happened before and would only create huge costs and delays, severely damaging New Zealand’s reputation as a place to carry out high quality biological research.

“The Government are planning to review ERMA and to amend the HSNO Act. They should be warned that already GE research in New Zealand faces some of the toughest compliance hurdles in the world.

“Any changes the Government makes should if anything maintain scientific rigour relating to risk, but streamline and simplify the time it takes to process the science and keep the costs down.

“If New Zealand is to achieve a good environment to carry out biological research the proposed bioethics committee should not create unnecessary time and cost hurdles for research applicants,” said Dr Hutchison.

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