Minister Jones calls for a rethink of New Zealand's genetic modification laws

After the Interim Climate Change Committee raised concerns that laws surrounding genetic modification could be a barrier to lowering farming emissions, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said that time has come to question New Zealand’s “GE-free gospel”.

"If we as a nation are going to find a solution to make the climate change transition one of equity and justice, then we are going to have to deploy the arsenal of science and technology," he said.

Minister Jones said areas such as forestry could benefit from changes, and a review of current GE laws and a debate surrounding it needed to begin.

"It's either that or stop promising huge growth from science and technology, if we're going to tie one hand behind our back," the Minister said.

"One of the challenges to the billion-trees strategy is the potential spread of wilding pine. My forest scientists tell me if they had more latitude there may be a way with gene editing to overcome that problem."

While Minister Jones recognises that loosening the regulations around genetic modification in New Zealand could potentially harm the reputation of our exports, he believes that this question should be confronted in any review that will be done surrounding these laws.

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    commented on Minister Jones calls for a rethink of New Zealand's genetic modification laws 2019-07-28 12:38:03 +1200
    A capturing of my thoughts about GM.

    It would be wonderful if Science in its GM looked at ‘our world’ wholistically and not in specifics… eg. GM on pines and specifically targeted Native species.
    >In developing the GM, is their a correlating scientific study on the ‘the other things’ effects, – with a view to letting the likes of ‘me’ know the big picture stuff of the implications for the Environment. eg. Things like whether the GM trees maintain their ability to speak the same language of the other trees within the same location, effect on the bird life, their ‘pollination ‘ techniques, how much water is required to sustain one GM tree, needs over a hectare, plus incrementally,; if used as firewood what’s the effect for a household, a Marae or a campfire?, etc..

    What is the actual INTENT or PURPOSE of the GM?

    In February I heard a presentation on ‘modifying’ the genes of introduced pests – specifically possums and stoats – whereby the male seed will not procreate offspring and so eliminate them from our shores. For all the known reasons I am fully supportive. But then the reality and risk factors rush in – if they can do that to animals, tis only a tissue away from applying it in a hu-man-e way to starving rural cats, and then to present it as a ‘choice’ for MEN – and then what?

    So whilst I appear to be ‘on shifting sands’, I may be enticed onto more solid ground if the pictures of purpose / intent for GM were inclusive of the indigenous wholistic view. That would then be inclusive of the economics, the risks along the way, as well as assurance of what it is we are leaving as our legacy to the Planet and life as we know it, as it applies to us.

    Just to expose my cherry picking memory from a distant time of a plan – was it by Brierlys?? to introduce a new species of the Kauri Tree that can grow just as majestically in double quick time? Imagine that forest!!
    commented on Minister Jones calls for a rethink of New Zealand's genetic modification laws 2019-07-26 21:45:06 +1200
    I am 63 years young grew up on the west coast of South Island always told when then the the tide is out the table is set we played and spent our time in between tide and trees we loved our time and lost our friends and family in mine disasters my grandparents suffered the tragedy as a result have gone into horticulture and from my young days to now still a fan of selective felling it worked years ago so why have we let it get to this situation now trees were felled on the coast houses were built the forest regenerated . Thank you for reading this. Just my thoughts. Caryline Hill.