Feds challenge NZ Greens to follow Aus Greens on GMOs

Federated Farmers is challenging the New Zealand Green Party to follow Australian Greens on moderating their stance on Genetic Modification.

Federated Farmers has welcomed a shift in thinking by the Australian Green Party and encourages their New Zealand counterparts to be equally open minded about the benefits of genetic modification.

Over the past week Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale has conducted a series of interviews in which he has opened the door to changing the party’s longstanding opposition to genetically modified organisms.

He told ABC radio that “the concerns are less around human health and much more around the application of the technology when it comes to giving farmers choice.” In another interview with The Land he said he did “not have a blanket objection to the use of genetically modified crops” and that “it’s a bit simplistic to say GMO’s are safe or they’re not safe.”

“This is entirely in line with Federated Farmers’ position of giving farmers choice about what and how they farm, and assessing the benefits and risks of genetically modified organisms on a case-by-case basis,” says Federated Farmers National President Dr William Rolleston.

“It’s refreshing to see such an open minded approach from the Australian Greens on what we see as a key issue for the agricultural sector, and we encourage the NZ Green Party to also review their policy on genetic modification.”

“If you look at some of the biggest challenges facing farmers at the moment, such as drought and pressure from some quarters to reduce biological emissions. These are both things that likely have a scientific solution,” says Dr Rolleston.

Dr Rolleston said genetic modification has been used extensively around the world, to the benefit of farmers and the environment, without any incident of harm attributable to the GM aspects of the application.

“Although no crops using GM are approved or grown here yet, this vitally important science is being used successfully in New Zealand. GM products such as food enzymes, medicines and animal feed are now commonplace.”

“We ask that the Greens open their minds to the agricultural sector also taking advantage of these rapidly evolving technologies,” he said.

Di Natale, like Rolleston, is a medical doctor:

. . . Senator Di Natale – whose medical career included practicing in regional areas – said he personally had no philosophical or ideological objections to the science of GM.

He said genetic modification was “something we’ve done for a long time in medicine”.

“I do not have a blanket objection to the use of genetically modified crops – I absolutely don’t – and it would be hypocritical for me to say that because I support the use of genetic modification in medicine,” he said. . . 

In response to this, Grant Jacobs writes at Sciblogs:

I’m sure I’m not the only person who thinks much of the ‘debate’ on GM is unhelpful.

Below are a few suggestions to those thinking about this issue, or who wish to offer public comment. . . 


  • Remember that genetic engineering (GE) has applications far wider than just crops, and more than just herbicide-tolerant crops.
  • If your concern is food safety or environmental issues, talking about ‘GMOs’ is a distraction away from issues (if any). It is the traits of each crop or animal variety that determine if there might be risk, not how the crop or animal was first bred.
  • If your concern is over transgenic organisms, say ‘transgenic organisms’ not ‘GMOs’.
  • If your concern relates to business aspects, make sure those concerns are real, related to GMOs and avoid straw-man arguments.
  • If your concern relates to international trade, give examples of it being an issue (rather than ‘what if’-style claims).
  • Be aware of misapplied or inappropriate cultural memes, or conflation with separable things.
  • Aim for discussion, not ‘debate’ or argument. . . 

If you follow the link you can read his elaboration on each point.

A lot of the debate on GMOs is based on politics and misinformation rather than science.

Caution on any new technology is wise, but a blanket ban on GMOs is not.


59 Responses to Feds challenge NZ Greens to follow Aus Greens on GMOs

  1. “A lot of the debate on GMOs is based on politics and misinformation rather than science.” Homepaddock

    What about a business argument???

    If a whole bunch of people and businesses who’s brands are built on being GM free have their livelihoods turned upside down due to cross-contamination who is liable????

    I know you like to beat around the bush but a simple and direct answer will suffice for this callsign


  2. Gravedodger says:

    R10wheelbarrow wants a guarantee that “organic crops” becoming allegedly “contaminated by a GMO, someone will pay.

    Gee who is gunna compensate me when the 2016 influenza virus does not bow down to the 2016 vaccine and I get Crook.

    Well here is the news, all living things have an inherent ability to mutate their genetic structure and as someone else pointed out on another blog does not working around a genetic structure in a laboratory have somewhat greater control than what will happen in nature or is that simple biological fact beyond comprehension.

    Put it another way should an accidental genetic mutation in an “organic:” orchard/greenhouse/garden domestic or commercial, become a challenge for a neighbouring enterprise will that “Organic” nut job compensate. I don’t think so as my information has “organic” production systems often working at a lower level of profitability and therefore less able to pay up.


  3. Dave Kennedy says:

    A better label is Genetic Engineered organism (GMOs) because that better describes laboratory based engineering while Genetic Modification can occur through more natural means:

    The key arguments are not political at all but economic and the question asked by the commenter before begs a convincing answer.

    The projects director at the Sustainability Council of New Zealand describes New Zealand’s current position well:

    “The reality, however, is that the companies he represents have yet to come up with crops that would provide real economic benefits for New Zealand farmers – quite apart from failing to win over consumers.”

    Globally, soy, maize, cotton and canola account for 99 per cent of all GM agriculture – crops that we grow little of in New Zealand, if at all. Other food crops have been approved, but their cultivation is tiny.”

    Three decades of domestic research have similarly failed to deliver anything commercially viable.”

    GM seed available overseas has predominantly been engineered simply to resist herbicides and pesticides.”

    Breeding other types of plants – ones that can cope better with drought, soil salinity and the like – has proved far more difficult than first thought. Monsanto’s long-awaited GM drought-resistant corn does not perform any better than conventional corn bred for dry conditions, according to the US Government.”

    “GM is just one new plant-breeding technology, and other approaches are fast gaining traction. One of these is marker-assisted selection (MAS), which uses gene science to better target traditional breeding. MAS is capable of achieving almost everything that GM can do, yet it carries none of the marketing risks.”

    Meanwhile the export advantages of being GE free far out way the
    potential benefits:


    Rolleston is not able to describe any current GE research that has potential for NZ agriculture. By opening the doors to GE st this stage would be economically damaging and potentially destroy those businesses that are currently dependent on being GE free.

    Let us have the debate but make sure it is a real one, labelling the opposition as simplistic, emotive and political is disingenuous and unhelpful.


  4. Dave Kennedy says:

    Sorry the first line should include (GEOs).


  5. Name Withheld says:

    One of the most sensible summaries on the subject can be found in the Grant Jacobs link.
    Well worth a read.
    He offers a couple of pieces of advice ..

    Aim for discussion, not ‘debate’ or argument


    A little politics. The NZ Green party has said they wish their policy to be evidence-based. They have also dismissed looking at their GE policy, essentially out-of-hand.

    All of which seems to have escaped the simple-minded cut-and-paste contributor above.


  6. Dave Kennedy says:

    NW, here is the challenge for you, rather than resort to personal abuse actually come up with a constructive answer to the first commenter on this thread and provide some clear evidence in support of GE in NZ. Whether it be a debate or a discussion evidence is crucial.

    There are four main issues that need to be resolved before opening up agriculture in NZ to GE organisms and I can’t see anything here that addresses them:

    1) How can we properly protect current operations that are GE free?
    2) What existing successful GE research has positive applications to NZ?
    3) What evidence is there that losing our GE free status will not have a negative impact on trade (especially when there are many markets where being GE free is advantageous)?
    4) What assurances do we have that any local experiments will be properly controlled and managed when the record up to now has not been so good (Lincoln brassica research noncompliance)?

    Grant Jacobs admits he does not have any idea on the trade implication of losing our GE free status and I would have thought this was a crucial understanding.

    There also needs to be some sound evidence to show that GE is superior to MAS.

    Your turn…


  7. homepaddock says:

    r1016132nzblogger – if someone was making money by asserting the earth was flat would you stop anyone in a business which showed it wasn’t?


  8. TraceyS says:

    “What existing successful GE research has positive applications to NZ?”

    Genetically Engineering Algae for Better Biofuel:

    Advanced Biofuels from Cellulose via Genetic
    Engineering of Clostridium thermocellum:

    Click to access biochemical_conversion_maness_0345.pdf

    Engineers Develop New Yeast Strain to Enhance Biofuel and Biochemical Production:

    Engineering of plant cell walls for enhanced biofuel production:

    Harnessing biodiesel-producing microbes: from genetic engineering of lipase to metabolic engineering of fatty acid biosynthetic pathway:

    Unlocking lignin for sustainable biofuel:

    It is disingenuous to narrowly focus on GE’s application to crops and farming.

    You would think that the Green Party would support biosynthetic alternatives to fossil fuel.

    These technologies are the future.

    The Green Party’s anti-GE stance is not about economics (or the environment for that matter) it’s about votes. They risk losing too many votes if they were seen to dramatically change that stance.


  9. Dave Kennedy says:

    Ele, r1016132nzblogger’s question was a reasonable one and your response was facetious. The problem described is a practical one and no different from someone else’s herbicide drift destroying a neighbouring crop.

    It is actually really important to establish the pros and cons of losing our GE status when at the moment there are clear financial advantages to remain as we are. All the pro GE arguments are currently hypothetical for New Zealand’s situation. There are currently two arguments put forward for GE here, drought resistant pasture and non seeding Douglas Firs (to avoid wilding trees). Neither have a GE solution yet and there is no evidence that something can’t be achieved through MAS instead.

    The pro GE argument is actually a hollow one as it implies that some solutions are dependent on GE, when the science currently supports MAS as a convincing alternative:


  10. Name Withheld says:

    The question from numbers……

    I know you like to beat around the bush but a simple and direct answer will suffice for this callsign

    Which I would not describe as a “reasonable” request of our blog host.

    So a simple and direct answer he got….
    Whats not to like…


  11. farmerbraun says:

    Grave dodger, no court will ever find that a flu virus is a nuisance in law.
    So your example is a red herring.
    Neither will a naturally occurring genetic mutation be held to be a nuisance in law , although it could conceivably be declared to be a noxious organism.
    But as in the flu case, no party could reasonably be accused of causing nuisance.
    Finally if you think that an average EBIT/ Ha of $4000 is ” a lower level of profitability” , then I would question whether your higher profitability operation is not illegal.


  12. farmerbraun says:

    Of course every novel organism must be tested on a case by case basis.
    The debate ought to be about the risk assessments , and the appropriate testing regimes for those individual risks.
    I have previously suggested that genetic modification of possums for example to alter the sex ratios, could , if it was achievable, have the potential to rid this country of a scourge.
    In the absence of any native marsupials, such a strategy , if it could be proven to be safe, would seem to have great environmental benefits. It should not be difficult to devise a suitable testing regime for such an artificial GMO.

    The testing of a GMO for human consumption would necessarily be different by orders of magnitude , and involve multi- generational testing, especially in view of the fact that, once released, and assuming cross-pollination with the non-GMO variety , it may be possible to retrieve the GMO food plant, should it ultimately be found to be harmful, only by total eradication of the species in question: we cannot afford to lose any food plants at this stage.

    So first and foremost comes the question of safety: for whom or what, and how to establish that safety.
    We do need to remember the thalidomide debacle.


  13. farmerbraun says:

    It does seem rather obvious that a blanket approach is going to be unsatisfactory.
    Some GMOs will be a nuisance, some may be useful. GMOs which require the use of increasing amounts of agricultural chemical, which may later be found to be harmful, should be avoided until the safety of all aspects of their use can be ascertained.
    And choice must be preserved.
    And nothing should be done to reduce bio- diversity which is probably essential to the survival of most life on this planet.
    It might be helpful if Rolleston could stop talking generalities, and make a case for a specific example that would pass muster.
    I suspect that he is just waffling. Certainly he does not have widespread support amongst the members of Federated Farmers, who, in any case, represent only a small fraction of people in agriculture.


  14. Name Withheld says:

    To try and inch back towards the topic…
    Which was…

    Feds challenge NZ Greens to follow Aus Greens on GMOs

    It matters not a (GE) fig if the NZ greens follow Aus greens or not.
    They will posture and prance, and probably even Morris dance, but at the end of the day make no difference to Government policy.
    I agree, Rolleston is probably just waffling. Just shaking the tree to see where the


    nuts fall.


  15. farmerbraun says:

    The prospect of some Morris dancing is certainly something to look forward to. It may be the most enlightening thing to come out of the GE debate.


  16. farmerbraun says:

    ” a scientific solution to drought”?
    Really Dr. Rolleston?
    Climate change too?
    Yep, definitely waffle.


  17. farmerbraun says:

    If it is the case, as he would have us believe, that the learned doctor is concerned about the sustainability of NZ agriculture, then he might be well advised to cast the net a little more widely, and embrace a little more of the existing science that is relevant to this important issue.
    There also may well be economic and political considerations which could lead to improvements in this regard, Federated Farmers being essentially a political organisation.


  18. I have been waiting some months now for ‘homepaddock’ to give me a straight answer on this….


    And am still waiting…….not holding my breath either


  19. Gravedodger says:

    Jesus on a hoverboard Mr Kennedy when will the Melons acknowledge the well proven health benefits of Golden Rice. Yes it is a benefit to the proprietary owner of the grain stock but the Melon mentality denies those benefits to those in desperate need.

    Just as the well proven health benefits of DDT controlling bloody Malaria carrying mosquitoes, does not threaten me so your protest is entirely legitimate.

    Such luddite thinking resonates at a soiree of Melons but downtown at disease control centre things are somewhat more critical.

    Remind me again how many died from Malaria last year. it is eye wateringly sad, sort of collateral damage I guess.

    It is the principle you see, MUPPET.


  20. Dave Kennedy says:

    Gravedodger, I didn’t realize that we were wanting to grow Golden Rice in NZ. 😉

    I pretty much agree with Farmerbrauns comments on GE, the precautionary principle is a sound one and until there is a good case for a particular GEO to be used here we don’t need to jump into that particular wagon.

    Tracey what you linked to may indeed be useful science and there are obviously medical benefits from GE as well. However, Rolleston is speaking on behalf of the farmers union and his agenda is agriculture related and as FB said his motivations are largely political.


  21. TraceyS says:

    What’s wrong with this statement, Dave?

    “Some of the Green’s research priorities include climate change, environmental issues, biotechnology (non-GE), organics, renewable and efficient energy, sustainable transport, waste minimisation, conservation, alternative economics, work and technological change.”

    Why reject GE biotech when it is so promising regarding several other items on that list?

    In the future I look forward to seeing you grapple with which to put first; politics or planet.


  22. TraceyS says:

    “Tracey what you linked to may indeed be useful science…”

    At some point in the future it will be very useful science.

    The other useful GE science will be medical, such as engineering nutraceuticals which can cross the blood-brain barrier to deliver substances which are already known to treat the cause/symptoms of diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

    I think that these, along with GM biofuels, should be able to be produced here. If one accepts their justification then why not accept GE crops as well?


  23. Dave Kennedy says:

    “…then why not accept GE crops as well?”
    For all the reasons stated above.


  24. TraceyS says:

    I don’t think that the issues would be any different with the other applications for GE (biofuel and medical). There would be just as much potential for cross-contamination as with agricultural applications. Yet you appear warmer towards non-agricultural applications for some reason.


  25. TraceyS says:

    “Rolleston is speaking on behalf of the farmers union and his agenda is agriculture related…”

    Agriculture, climate, health…all intimately related wouldn’t you say, Dave?


  26. farmerbraun says:

    One might observe that Federated Farmers is about as representative of persons in agriculture as the Greens are representative of the general population. Sweet fanny adams . . . in both cases.

    So what is Rolleston playing at?
    The Greens really do matter that much?

    Pull the other one.


  27. Name Withheld says:

    The Greens really do matter that much?

    The answer is ….No…Never have.
    And long may that remain so.


  28. Mr E says:

    What is the definition of irony.

    “Let us have the debate but make sure it is a real one, labelling the opposition as simplistic, emotive and political is disingenuous and unhelpful.”

    This is the comment where the word ‘simplistic’ exists.

    “it’s a bit simplistic to say GMO’s are safe or they’re not safe.”

    As you can see it was not used to “label the opposition”.

    The word emotive is not used anywhere. Only by Dave.

    Using nonsense is both disingenuous and unhelpful.



  29. Dave Kennedy says:

    I also note that rather than respond to my questions there is an attack on the significance of the Green Party instead 😉

    If you say the Greens don’t matter often enough you may eventually believe it. Our highest poll result was 17.5% and the lowest election result for National was 20%. It was also interesting that John Key spent more time attacking the Greens during the election campaign than Labour, a lot of focus on a party that supposedly doesn’t matter. As FB points out Rolleston also cares about what the Greens think. Our membership has grown substantially over the past year and we can afford to employ more staff…we just continue to grow stronger.

    Remember also that 20,000 people marching down Queen Street in the last anti GE campaign wasn’t insignificant.


    I had a meeting yesterday with a past manager of the Tiwai Smelter, he told me that more Green MPs visited him and the smelter to try and understand the issues than from any other party. Our MPs are amongst the better informed in Parliament.

    Tracey please explain the problems of cross contamination with biofuel.


  30. Mr E says:


    We really are surrounded by GMOs in NZ. The cotton we use, the cheese we eat, crops we feed cows and many many foods contain GMOs.

    Overseas companies trade GMO’s as Organic. That includes several food products.

    NZ certainly can’t claim to be GMO free, and I think anyone trading products on a GMO free basis does it controversially.
    GMOs were here well before legislation. So to answer your question, ‘who will stump up cash for companies that take a loss’ – Nobody, GMOs were not illegal when they were introduced.

    I noted Dave’s refining of concern to GE, which makes me wonder if he is accepting of some GMO’s like the Greens in Australia.

    I also noted Dave’s support of Steffan Brownings view that Marker Assisted Selection is the direction we should be heading it. Funnily enough MAS has been used for years, and promoting it as a pathway makes the Green Party sound completely out of date.

    That point does highlight something important. GMO legislation has not been keeping up with the technologies. It needs to, and public debate inspires that. Which is exactly why I applaude what William is doing. He is inspiring debate, ensuring our policy is in line with attitudes.

    That leads to the rhetorical question that can also be asked – ‘who with compensate willing users of GMO’s where science and economics supports the use of, and policy restricts the use of?’


  31. Mr E says:

    You are concerned about people claiming that the Greens don’t matter, and your evidence that you do matter is your highest poll result. What silly silly conclusions you draw. An easy counter to that argument is your lowest poll result – less then 1%

    But using logic rather than illogic as you tend to do, all opposition parties matter. Even the 0% ones. Because they present opportunity for diversity.

    Please use logic, otherwise you will likely matter less. Actually in my eyes, your commentary on this blog makes you matter less to me.


  32. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, as DNA science and gene identification becomes more refined then MAS science also benefits.

    I also applaud debate which is why I posed the questions I did and why I find it entertaining to note the levels of avoidance of the key points.

    What current established (not hypothetical) GE science has immediate benefits for NZ agriculture? The drought tolerant pasture promoted by Rolleston has yet to be discovered and yet countries across the globe will have an interest in this.

    What is the current value of GE free NZ exports and how will that be effected if we lose that title?

    There are obviously no immediate advantages of introducing GE into NZ agriculture and considerable economic risks and nothing I have read here proves otherwise.

    “You are concerned about people claiming that the Greens don’t matter.”

    Not at all, the more people angst about the Greens and talk us down, the more effective we must be. As someone who matters so little to you, you expend an inordinate amount of time responding to me, misrepresenting my points to divert arguments and going to great lengths to try and prove me wrong. If my party is so insignificant and all my comments lack logic, then why bother? 😉


  33. Mr E says:


    “What current established (not hypothetical) GE science has immediate benefits for NZ agriculture?”

    More importantly why would anyone fund such research when the outcome is illegal? Why would you create the cart before the horse?

    Anti opportunity that is against scientific understandings holds back discovery. A lot of hypothetical opportunties exist that can not come anywhere near fruition without law changes.

    Here is what some of the scientists say:

    Prof Barry Scott, Professor of Molecular Genetics, Massey University

    ” The highly risk averse nature of the current New Zealand regulations are way out of step with the current scientific knowledge available on GM technologies and the regulations and practices in most international jurisdictions. This disjoint has led to a compliance regime that is excessive to what is needed to manage the low risk nature of most of the current GM techniques and technologies.”

    Dr Elspeth MacRae, General Manager Manufacturing and Bioproducts, Scion

    “New Zealand is a biological country and is likely to miss opportunities to capitalise on the benefits on GMO plants, including impacts that are positive for climate change and greenhouse gas emissions and our future liabilities under Kyoto and later agreements. For example, the forest industry takes many years to develop new trees; in future for some applications it will be necessary to explore GMO options, e.g. disease resistance (trees in a forest die from a disease attack, and it will take years of searching for new resistant trees and then growing them back into a forest), or trees that can grow fast and also produce fibres and chemicals to replace those currently produced using petroleum.”

    Why is it that the when it comes to Climate Change the Greens claim science concensus must determine policy, but when it comes to GMO the Greens largely ignore science?

    “Not at all, the more people angst about the Greens and talk us down, the more effective we must be.”

    Soooo…. if people talk bad about the Greens – you matter, and if people talk good about the Greens (ex manager Tiwai) you matter. Again your logic seems to fail you.

    Did someone mention narcacism in this thread?

    Id be interested to hear who you spoke to from Tiwai. The ex General manager went to OZ. So it must have been a lower tier manager?

    “As someone who matters so little to you”

    I said less “less” Dave. Not little. Why do you come across as being so poor at comprehending basic information.


  34. farmerbraun says:

    ““New Zealand is a biological country and is likely to miss opportunities to capitalise on the benefits on GMO plants, including impacts that are positive for climate change and greenhouse gas emissions and our future liabilities under Kyoto and later agreements.”

    Whoa! A “biological country”?
    That makes as much sense as the climate change and GHG nonsense that Elspeth proffered. My BS alarm went off instantly.


  35. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Id be interested to hear who you spoke to from Tiwai.”

    It was Tom Campbell, he is chairing the Southland Regional Development Plan and we had a meeting to discuss the establishment of a new Art Gallery and a more permanent home for our farmers market.

    Mr E, New Zealand has already been doing GE research on brassicas and transgenic cows. I understand both have had their problems, the brassica’s were allowed to flower (against the research control agreement) and the transgenic cows have been plagued by deformities.

    Here are two opposing opinions on GE from 2012 and I believe Professor Jack Heinemann has the most convincing argument. He has evidence to show that the introduction of GE in other countries has actually decreased production.


  36. Mr E says:

    Professor Jack Heinemann is a well known anti-GM campaigner. And whilst I don’t have a big issue with that, he has consistently be found wanting and wrong when he has gone public with his speculations. There are many many links I can provide at your request.

    The his commentary that you linked to contains many scaremongering remarks.
    For example

    In the 1970s and 1980s the promise was that GM would increase nitrogen fixation in plants but more than 30 years of research has failed to make a contribution to this goal.”

    Promise! Somebody promised. FB’s proverbial meter with be skyrocketing.

    He then goes on to claim GM has been underwhelming in its contribution compared to conventional breeding. That ignores a blatantly obvious concept, conventional breeding can be done and used everywhere, where GM can’t. Why would GM invest decent amounts of money in development when markets are limited. The 2 are incomparable.

    I think this professor has a bias unscientific approach to the matter. This is reinforced by his regular and unsuccessful criticisms of GM technologies.


  37. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Professor Jack Heinemann is a well known anti-GM campaigner”

    No, he is an award winning scientist who specialises in genetics. He just happens to express the view (based on his research and knowledge) that there is no advantage to New Zealand agriculture by using GE.

    “He then goes on to claim GM has been underwhelming in its contribution compared to conventional breeding.”
    You have evidence otherwise? Those who invest in GE are attracted by the potential profits that if they own a successful GEO, however in reality, as Heinemann explains, there have been few agricultural GE successes.

    “I think this professor has a bias unscientific approach to the matter.”

    Based on what? Don’t tell me you have a certificate in genetics too Mr E. 😉


  38. Mr E says:

    “No, he is an award winning scientist who specialises in genetics. He just happens to express the view (based on his research and knowledge) that there is no advantage to New Zealand agriculture by using GE.”

    It just so happens that some of his negative claims have been labelled “speculative” by numerous sources, his studies focus on the risks of GM, the role of a critic, and he has been criticised in articles criticising Anti GM activists.

    Yes he sounds balanced.


  39. Mr E says:

    Oh- yes I studied genetics at University, extracted DNA, and gene sequencing.

    I’ve also done public presentations including genetics.

    Thanks for the question.


  40. Dave Kennedy says:

    Name those other sources who say that Prof. Heinemann’s views are only speculative, Mr E, I would be interested to know what they thought was speculative and what perspectives and knowledge informed those conclusions.


  41. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Oh- yes I studied genetics at University, extracted DNA, and gene sequencing. I’ve also done public presentations including genetics.”

    But not English, obviously 😉


  42. Mr E says:

    “Name those other sources who say that Prof. Heinemann’s views are only speculative”

    Read the articles in the Google link.

    I’ve also done English at high school. 😉


  43. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, It pays to read both sides of the wheat issue as it isn’t quite as you presented it in your deliberate search to discredit Heinemann:



    Also none of the criticisms were directly related to the points he made in the article I linked to earlier.

    Out of interest what were the papers and the course you completed at University that included genetics? A close friend of ours is a medical geneticist.


  44. Paranormal says:

    DK at 11.23 “but not English”.

    DK, your task for this evening Pot, Kettle, black – use in a sentence.

    Why? Have a look at any of your comments here and on many other posts. In particular yours of 1.54 “effected”. Shouldn’t that have an ‘a’?


  45. Name Withheld says:

    DK at 11.23 “but not English”.

    DK, your task for this evening Pot, Kettle, black – use in a sentence.


    Too funny..
    Who can forget words such as faux “pax” and other such gems from this great communicator.


  46. Mr E says:

    “It pays to read both sides of the wheat issue”

    Oh I did.

    “Also none of the criticisms were directly related to the points he made in the article I linked to earlier.”

    They weren’t intended to.

    “Out of interest what were the papers and the course you completed at University that included genetics? A close friend of ours is a medical geneticist.”

    There were several, and I wrote a Post Grad paper on Genetics too. I have several friends who work in Genetics.

    But this is not about me or you. If my qualifications are important to this debate – I could reassure you, you have well and truly lost.

    But my qualifications are not important to this debate, nor are my friends.

    Prof Heinemann’s studies focus on the risk of GM. That means he seems inherently focused on the negative. And that is fine, that is his area of Science. But base you entire views on his studies and papers, without the balance of the positive, you are acting as a scaremonger, acting politically, or however you may want to term it.

    And this is exactly what the blog topic is all about. Let’s be balanced – let’s be sensible.

    In the article you referred to – Prof Heinemann amongst other silly connections, compared Conventional Breeding with GM breeding in an attempt to undermine it. A melons vs grapes comparison. If that doesn’t have alarm bells ringing in you head, nothing will.

    Paranormal and Name Withheld.

    I wasn’t bothered by Dave’s qualification criticisms. I took it as humour. I could well have pointed out that he forgot the full stop when he claimed I didn’t study English, but I am not interested in Dave’s qualifications. We know he is a retired School teacher – who once wrote flyers for the Local Young Farmers club. Nothing more needs to be said.

    And besides I can laugh at myself. As I did. Like many here, I don’t bother writing formally. I’d rather get the content there, than make sure it met the Queen’s standard.


  47. Dave Kennedy says:

    “But my qualifications are not important to this debate”

    Mr E, this discussion appears to replicate others we had had before. You make lots of claims about your superior knowledge, qualifications and experience, none of which can be verified. Describing your qualifications to leverage a discussion is dishonest if there is no way of checking validity, you just become a hollow man.

    The only opportunity we had to test your standing in the farming community was when you threatened a meeting with Federated Farmers and as we all know it was revealed that you communicated with none of the local leadership and nothing came of it. As far as I can tell you make outrageous claims that have no substance and your excuses at the time were hilariously pathetic.

    You asked for the name of the source of a comment I referred to earlier and I produced it, I asked for the names of the genetic papers you studied and this was your answer:
    “There were several, and I wrote a Post Grad paper on Genetics too.”

    Have you heard of Walter Mitty? 😀

    I make no claims to be particularly qualified at anything, primary teachers are generalists and I in particular claim no mastery of any field and make constant spelling and grammatical errors here that i am fully open about. My background and sources are available to all.

    Again I note that the particular points I brought up that clearly need to be addressed regarding introducing GE into New Zealand agriculture have been largely ignored.

    “Prof Heinemann amongst other silly connections, compared Conventional Breeding with GM breeding in an attempt to undermine it.”

    I guess you are referring to this statement:

    “From the 1990s onward GM was going to increase drought tolerance. More than one thousand field trials in the US alone have produced only a single commercial plant, a GM corn, which has not proven reliably better than non-GM varieties. Meanwhile, conventional breeding is producing non-GM drought tolerant varieties. All that remains are promises that GM will achieve these complex traits faster or better.”

    The challenge for you, as someone who claims to have written a post grad paper on genetics, is to provide evidence otherwise.

    It appears to me that your argument, as well as your elusive qualifications, are just so much hot air.

    “I’d rather get the content there, than make sure it met the Queen’s standard.”

    That is what I’m waiting for 😉


  48. Name Withheld says:

    Have you heard of Walter Mitty?

    Oh..please Mr Kennedy…your witticisms have already put this thread into humour overload.

    Do you mean the Walter Mitty, who always has planes to catch, meetings to chair, protests to organize and who drops names
    that vary from bathroom attendants at US airports through to mysterious managers and scientists, and even hazelnut entrepreneurs.
    Of course we know him.
    He posts here ad nauseam, an authority on any subject you care to mention.
    Funny thing is, he uses your name.
    You should look into that.


  49. Name Withheld says:

    Almost forgot..
    The Walter, or Wally, we see here also has…..
    Mountains to climb!


  50. Dave Kennedy says:

    NW, you flatter me with your memory of what I write, even if the intent was misunderstood 😉

    No mountains climbed this time either, the highest I got was the Sealy Tarn.

    The Walter Mitty I was referring to was from the Thurber short story that describes a retiring man with no public profile (or publicly available one) who imagines himself as an extraordinary person who achieves in lots of imaginary roles. Mr E fits that description perfectly. He once listed a stream of past jobs and qualifications that seemed impressive but insisted that we just take his word for their validity. He has added to that in this thread by claiming to have studied post graduate genetics at a university and also conducting public presentations on it. The fact that he wasn’t prepared to share the actual papers he studied was a give away and I think we would all find it informative if he was able to describe the content of his “presentation” and its audience. If one bothers to mention such achievements, but is not prepared to give them substance, then what substance do they actually have?

    It has always been an integral part of Mr E’s arguments that I do not have the background or understanding to properly debate here on a number of topics while he himself has superior knowledge and experience (which means that anything he says has more value). The only time Mr E’s claims were ever tested was when he boasted that he would set up a meeting with the local Feds so that my views could be presented to a wider farmer audience. As far as I could glean from my own relationships with the people concerned, no one in the local Fed’s leadership team had heard anything about it and when questioned Mr E claimed that his emails must have been misdirected, or something similar.

    Mr E could very well be all he claims but I have little respect for people whose approach to debate involves sitting in a trench, hidden from view, while claiming that they are morally superior and actually standing on a massive pedestal.

    Walter Mitty 😉


  51. Name Withheld says:

    You mistake mockery for flattery .
    A common mistake, demonstrated by narcissists everywhere.


  52. Dave Kennedy says:

    NW, no I didn’t, I identified the fact you could repeat elements of what I had said from over a year ago, I was impressed that you had retained something I said for so long, even if it was used to mock me. Given the status I have here that is flattery indeed 😉


  53. Mr E says:

    Hahahahahaha….! Funny funny stuff Dave.

    Dear Dr Rolleston,
    You wish for the Green’s to engage sensibly on GMO.

    Yours sincerely,
    Mr E


  54. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, a repeat of past discussions, when challenged you respond with manic laughter. Oh dear.


  55. Mr E says:



  56. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Challenged? Hardly.”

    But still no naming of the relevant university papers, no evidence to support your criticisms of Heinemann, no response to the other questions I asked…just manic laughter, self grandiosity and random putdowns.

    Responding to challenges actually means fronting up.


  57. Mr E says:

    “grandiosity and random putdowns.”

    The put downs of have used… !!!! My gosh!
    The grandiose claims I have made!!! My my!

    You are just too much Dave!


  58. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Responding to challenges actually means fronting up” I’m afraid manic laughter just doesn’t cut it…see ya Mr E.


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