19 October 2004
"The Select Committee recommendation to abandon zero tolerance in its purest form for genetically modified (GM)
imported seed is a step in the right direction,” Chairman of the Life Sciences Network Dr William Rolleston said today.
The recommendation was made by the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, who have issued their report into
the alleged release of genetically modified (GM) corn in 2000.
“We support the Committees’ recommendation that companies importing seed that complies with GM importation requirements
should not be punished if their crops are subsequently found to contain GM plants.
"Until now any discovery of GM presence has resulted in considerable expense, as biosecurity teams have swooped to
destroy crops which have been approved as safe and eligible for import by New Zealand’s trading partners, including the
United States, Japan and Europe.
“This over-reaction not only damages our image overseas, but also drags scarce resources away from managing the real
risks of foot and mouth and BSE.
“In addition, a zero tolerance policy in GM crop imports undermines our reputation as a country which values sound
“The Committee’s recommendation is a signal for New Zealand’s Government to implement an importation regime, (including
tolerance levels), which reflects the actual risk to our health and environment,” concluded Dr Rolleston.