Treasury secretary Gabriel Makhlouf’s call for another look at New Zealand’s attitude to GMOs is being supported by NZBio.
In a speech at Fieldays last week on making informed decisions about natural resources, Makhlouf said when new technologies come along, both genetically modified and non-genetically modified, New Zealand’s current system denies choice over whether the country should have them. “Meanwhile, our international competitors do have this option,” he said.
Will Barker, chief executive of the biotech industry organisation NZBio, said the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act needs to be urgently revised so new organisms are covered by better-conceived legislation.
“Attempts to interpret the current legislation have shown it to be highly restrictive, yet there are considerable benefits that new genetic technologies can offer New Zealanders,” Barker said in a statement today. . . .
Barker said decisions on biotechnology, including GM, should be subject to an appropriate risk-based assessment.
“Much of what is being said about GM here in New Zealand is simply inaccurate. Millions of people around the world have accepted GMOs into their environment and their food supply, because under appropriate legislation, they are recognised as having no substantial difference in risk profile to any other agriculture practice.”
Anti-GM rhetoric is largely based on fear and emotion.
HaSNO legislation should balance the opportunities and risks which come with any new technology and it must be based on science.
Makhlouf ‘s speech is here.