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ACT’s outdated GE policy ignores the scientific perils – GE Free New Zealand

The National and ACT parties policy to loosen regulations on GE is unscientific and outdated. The latest press release by ACT’s Research, Science and Innovation spokesperson Parmjeet Parmar calling the genetically engineered organisms regulation as “archaic” mirrors National’s rhetoric.[1][2]

The reference to GE rye-grass shows ACT and National are ignoring the failure of GE trials and disregarding the success of existing non-GE alternative approaches for New Zealand. [3]

Official Information documents reports that in 2018, before the results of the failed NZ taxpayer, $25 million-dollar, five-year GE rye grass was trialled in the US, AgResearch presented the GE rye grass “projected outcomes” to National party for their GE policy development.[4]

In July 2023, the failed trials of GE Rye-grass were reported by Newsroom after the results of the US trials were poor and AgResearch withdrew its application to field trial the failed GE ryegrass in Australia. [5]

“The GE rye grass trials failed to meet the projected outcomes,” said Claire Bleakley “Yet the political parties are denying the science showing that GE is a failure. New Zealand must ensure current legislation on GE is science not outcome expectation based.”

New Zealand’s legislation, Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO), has not blocked any applicant from applying to field test or release GE crops, it only requires proof of safety to the environment and health. The precautionary approach has allowed farmers to avoid the negative consequences of GE commercialisation overseas.

New Zealand has benefited from legislation that ensures Genetically Engineered and Gene Edited organisms are kept in containment and to date GE organisms have not been proven safe to release into the New Zealand environment.

“Emerging new biotechnologies (NBTs) or GE technologies are fraught with unintended and off target effects showing deleterious mutations. To protect farmers, consumers and the environment, New Zealand must preserve it’s GM Free environmental status and all NBTs must be fully regulated with no exemptions,” said Bleakley

References –

[1] https://www.act.org.nz/liberal_ge_laws_bring_opportunities_for_nz

[2] https://www.national.org.nz/national_will_end_ban_on_ge_and_gm_to_benefit_nz

[3] https://germinal.co.nz/non-gmo-ryegrass-developed-nz-farmers/

[4] C10X1603-CR-3, AgResearch progress report to MBIE, 01/07/2018 – 30/06/2019. (p 46) https://www.gefree.org.nz/assets/Uploads/C10X1603-CR-3.pdf

[5] https://newsroom.co.nz/2023/07/03/grass-isnt-greener-for-gm-trial-in-australia/


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