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.