LSN Media Release: September 24, 2003
Despite some serious errors in his interpretation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on GM, and a cherry
picking approach to the weight of scientific evidence, Auckland scientist Peter Wills argues strongly for case-by-case
assessment and conditional releases of GM crops.
Life Sciences Network Chairman, Dr William Rolleston, says, “If you look at the huge amount of scientific research
reported since the Royal Commission you will find examples of incidents which bear further examination. Some will
warrant new responses while others will be of no consequence. Dr Wills has obviously spent many hours getting his list
“What his incomplete study fails to take into account is the huge amount of successful use of GM technology in the same
“The fact that unexpected things happen is not surprising; that is why the Royal Commission recommended proceeding
carefully. It is also why the Government accepted the Royal Commission’s recommendation for a new category of release
with conditions. It is anticipated the conditions to be imposed by ERMA will mitigate against the reoccurrence of
unexpected and untoward events.
“The results Peter Wills has quoted all show that New Zealand is right to take a cautious approach – they do not argue
for an extension to the moratorium.
“Dr Wills approach is rather like taking your car into the garage to fix some defects and the Government then ordering
all cars off the road.
“The threshold of precaution, rather than being lower, is now higher as a result of the Government’s proposed changes
based on the Royal Commission’s recommendations. We welcome Dr Wills endorsement of the outcome of the Royal
Commission,” concluded Dr Rolleston.
From the LSN news team
Francis Wevers - Executive Director
Christine Ross - Communications Assistant, Wellington