GE has place in NZ

The audience at the annual Kim Hill Earth Hour debate decided there is a place for genetic engineering in New Zealand.

. . . Ninety minutes of pros, cons and broad views presented by panellists Tony Conner (AgResearch),  Robert Cruickshank (Lincoln University) and Richard Newcomb (Plant and Food Research) on one team and Christine Dann (Organics Aotearoa), Philip Gregan (NZ Winegrowers) and  Jon Hickford (Lincoln University) on the other, with close interrogation of them all by Kim Hill, was followed by 30 minutes of questions from the audience.  Chairwoman Sarah Walters, Deputy Mayor of Selwyn, then invited the audience to indicate by “noise” how they felt on the question.

Sarah ruled that the “ayes” were “slightly louder” signalling that genetic engineering should stay on New Zealand’s agenda “as a research opportunity” but with the provisos that it be well regulated, that consumers have a choice between GE and non-GE through strict labelling, and that the role of large overseas corporate organisations funding, and thereby influencing, research, be curbed. . .

Richard Newcomb added that the “GE debate has become completely intertwined with the anti-big business debate and with the notion of big business controlling food production and supply.” . . . .

He’s right – many of those opposed to GE are on the left of politics and also opposed to what they label big business.

Defending the environment, Christine Dann said she believed genetic engineering was “ecologically dangerous and too risky.”

“If everyone had their own little garden and grew their own vegetables the problem would be solved,” she said.  . .

If she is right, and I don’t think she is, Would she care that a whole lot of other problems would be created including job losses?

New Zealand is taking a very cautious approach to GE which is as it should be.

But the vehement opposition to it is based on emotion not science.

That a majority of the audience gave cautious support, albeit with provisos, to GE gives some hope that science might win.

 

 

3 Responses to GE has place in NZ

  1. Mr E says:

    Ele,
    This is the reason why I love your blog Ele. You find stuff I would not normally read.

    The irony to me is – GE seems to have great potential to reduce the global carbon and nutrient footprint in a significant way. If we can create more food for less inputs, have we not had a large win?

    The challenge to me is sorting out how and when it is safe to do or release. I not going to dive into that debate because it is too complex for a blog debate.

    Generally I tend to trust the CRIs to do the right thing. And I view processes as being very secure.

    Like

  2. JC says:

    This actually ties back to the earlier article about competitiveness (Rabobank report). If our competition uses GE and steals a march then we lose if we don’t match the GE input.

    Case in point is fuel from wood.. its a dead duck unless we can speed up the enzyme breakdown.. GE enzymes look the best bet to speed up the reaction and we would lose a big environmental plus if we forbade this potential development.

    JC

    Like

  3. robertguyton says:

    “But the vehement opposition to it is based on emotion not science”

    You bang that drum repeatedly, Ele, hoping to make it true through
    repitition. Perhaps you could show the science upon which you base your
    support for ‘it’. I bet you won’t and can’t.

    “That a majority of the audience gave cautious support, albeit with
    provisos, to GE gives some hope that science might win.”

    Here’s an example of you using emotive argument to support your pro-GE
    stance – you cite the perhaps “slightly louder” response from a Kim Hill
    debate to support your (erronous) claim that GE is supported in New
    Zealand. That’s kinda pathetic, don’t you think?

    In any case, the “provisos”: “strict labelling, and that the role of
    large overseas corporate organisations funding, and thereby influencing,
    research, be curbed” mean that there is no hope that GE will ever be
    accepted by New Zealanders while this Government is in power, as those
    sorts of conditions will be entirely ignored, as evidenced by their
    behaviour around oil exploration and the disdain National has shown to the
    public over any involvement from them, the kow-towing to international
    corporations and so on..

    Like

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