INDEPENDENT NEWS

ACT Praises GM Commission For A Job Well Done

Published: Mon 30 Jul 2001 04:48 PM
ACT Praises GM Commission For A Job Well Done
Monday, July 30 2001 Gerry Eckhoff
Press Releases -- Environment & Conservation
The ACT Party is delighted the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification has explicitly rejected the idea of New Zealand being GM-free, Environment Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said.
"The commission has produced some sound recommendations, that when adopted, will produce excellent economic opportunities for New Zealand. We do have concerns however about the likely compliance costs of applications to undertake GM projects. We are also concerned about the reference in the report to the need to increase consideration of Treaty of Waitangi issues.
"This has been the most comprehensive inquiry into GM anywhere in the world and it couldn't have been done better. The commission has based its findings on a huge range of available evidence ' and not blind emotion. Our scientists have been now given a mandate to continue research which will, with our kiwi ingenuity see us make our own landmark developments in areas such as agriculture, biotechnology and health.
"The economic ramifications are huge. If we don't make use - carefully and cautiously ' of this technology we risk being left far behind by the rest of the developed world. Huge economic damage could follow.
"Instead of importing science and technology from overseas we now have the chance to use our own to give us as a country specific advantages. This could afford us the opportunity for development of a multi-billion dollar industry for the benefit of all New Zealand.
"It is to be hoped the Government bases its actions on the contents of the report ' and not any knee-jerk public reaction stirred up by the Greens.
"The Greens were instrumental in this inquiry happening. They have had their say. They were supportive of the way the commission went about its business. They should now allow truly informed public debate on the issue and not press their narrow fundamentalist view on the public.
"It would be disastrous if the Government decided to compulsorily extend the moratorium on field trials. We have lost many talented scientists while the moratorium has been on. If it were to be extended we would see a torrent of our best brains pouring out of the country over coming months.
"The commission has spoken. Let's hope that the Government is listening," Gerry Eckhoff said.
For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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