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Chen & Palmer proposals will kill NZ research

Chen & Palmer proposals will kill NZ research Dressing up a piece of work in a bright cover fails to hide its partisan nature the Chairman of the Life Sciences Network, Dr William Rolleston, said this morning in commenting on the publication prepared Sir Geoffrey Palmer’s Wellington law firm about GM and legal liability.

“Chen and Palmer prepared evidence for one of the people who made submissions to the Royal Commission opposing the use of GM in New Zealand.

“It is unfortunate that Sir Geoffrey and his colleagues appear to have ignored the very detailed discussion on liability issues which occurred during the hearings and in the Royal Commission’s Report.

“Had they examined the issues in as much detail as the Royal Commission was able to they would not have made their flawed assumptions about the science and safety of GM.

“The publication starts from a non-scientific premise which the Royal Commission rejected, having had the benefit of the most extensive scientific evidence available in the world. In its Report the Royal Commission said, ‘Some of the claims of possible environmental and health damage were exaggerated or based on inconclusive research data or on unproved hypotheses.’

“The Commission determined that liability was best addressed on a case by case basis through the existing legal framework. We agree with that conclusion.

“The regime proposed by Sir Geoffrey is not designed to allow New Zealand to benefit from the safe use of genetic modification but to punitively disincentivise it out of existence. From our point of view there is no balance in his proposal and it lacks the rigour of the analysis undertaken by the Royal Commission.

“It is based on many scientifically unsupportable statements which sound remarkably similar to the already discredited myths about GM which have been promoted by GM opponents.

“His proposals for strict liability are totally unnecessary, as determined by the Royal Commission, when we already have the most rigorous regulatory regime in the world, and would add a level of cost which would mean New Zealand research companies would inevitably take their work off-shore,” concluded Dr Rolleston.

ENDS

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