GMO news related to New Zealand

09.06.2008 |

GM crops needed to feed world’s livestock

Livestock farmers need access to genetically modified crop technologies if they are to help feed the burgeoning world population, says Barry O’Neil (pictured), deputy director general of MAF Biosecurity New Zealand and president of the World Organisation for Animal Health OIE. Speaking at a briefing in London he said the world population was set to rise by 50% by 2020. Already a third of all arable crops were grown for animal feed, with some fed through inefficient feed conversion systems. Unless efficiency improved output would fail to keep up with demand.

09.06.2008 |

High Court upholds procedures in GE brassica trials in New Zealand

The High Court in Wellington has upheld procedures followed by the Environmental Risk Management Authority in approving field trials of genetically modified vegetables. The decision follows a hearing earlier this year in which GE-Free New Zealand argued that ERMA’s approval for the trials breached legal requirements. Crop and Food Research planted the genetically modified cabbages, broccoli and other brassicas in 2007, after getting clearance for 10 years of field tests.

08.05.2008 |

Anti-gas GE grass may help tackle global warming

Grass that may help tackle global warming by cutting the level of methane given off by cows is being developed [...] However, some scientists suggest that a cow’s absolute methane emissions might go up. Alistair Macrae, a lecturer in farm animal health and production at the University of Edinburgh, UK, says a diet too rich in highly digestible carbs can actually increase the amount of methane a cow belches out. [...] Beever agrees and says, ’It could increase methane emissions but it could also increase milk yields, effectively cutting the amount of methane produce per litre of milk.’

05.05.2008 |

GM pines cleared of risk to the environment in New Zealand

A trial cultivation of genetically modified pine trees in the open has shown no demonstrable risk to the environment, says research agency Scion. The Crown Research Institute says its field trial in Rotorua had not led to any modified gene transfer to other organisms or any discernible impacts on insects which live or feed on the trees, or bug life in the soil. Dr Tom Richardson, Scion chief executive, told the Herald yesterday these were the key areas under investigation and the result was that there were no detrimental effects from exposure to the genetically modified pines.

18.04.2008 |

New Zealand likely to drift into a GM future

The Government could be doing more to strategically manage genetic modification in New Zealand, according to research released today by Sustainable Future. Seven years on from the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, the research highlights that less than half of the 49 recommendations in the Commissioners’ report have been fully implemented. Sustainable Future’s chief executive, Wendy McGuinness, says there are very few decisions that a Government can make that it cannot undo – but releasing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into the environment is one of them.

18.04.2008 |

Chinese rice faces GE tests in New Zealand

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority’s (NZFSA) focus on rice comes as the EU has introduced an urgent testing regime as Beijing has been unable to prevent unauthorised Bt-63 genetically engineered rice from reaching Europe. The New Zealand and Australian food standards authority has approved the two countries’ first genetically engineered rice -- LLRice62 -- as ”safe and wholesome” for dinner plates, despite opposition from lobby groups. Yesterday, the NZFSA confirmed it was testing 13 samples of Chinese rice products of the same type that EU authorities have identified as being affected by Bt-63.

15.04.2008 |

GE push could prompt civil conflict in New Zealand

New applications in New Zealand for GE crops to be allowed to flower and seed and for more GE animal experiments could set farmer against farmer and prompt civil conflict. The latest push for GE applications by Crown Research Institutes, locally-based speculators and overseas biotechnology investors threatens New Zealand’s export markets and reputation for producing safe, clean, natural food, and mis-directs much-needed investment in sustainable IPM and organic production.

31.03.2008 |

GE brassica plot court battle begins in New Zealand

A court room battle over a 0.4 hectare vege patch began in Wellington today. GE Free NZ argued in the High Court that Crop and Food Research is not monitoring the adverse effects of a trial of genetically engineered vegetables which has already begun on a 0.4 hectare plot in the Lincoln area. The cauliflowers, cabbages, broccoli and forage kale, known as brassicas, contain genes derived from soil bacterium to counter pests.

24.03.2008 |

Update on New Zealand’s GE brassica and onion field trials

Crop and Food Research is being accused of arrogance for planting genetically engineered (GE) brassicas despite a legal challenge. The decision of the Environmental Risk Management Authority (Erma) approving a 10-year field trial, near Lincoln, of GE cabbages, forage kale, broccoli and cauliflower modified for resistance to caterpillar pests, is being appealed in the Wellington High Court on March 31 and April 1.

07.02.2008 |

International magazine announces New Zealand ”tearless onion” breakthrough

Dr Eady and his collaborators in Japan have been testing tearless onions in the laboratory and have presented their results so far to the 5th International Symposium on Edible Alliaceae, in The Netherlands. [...] International onion trade journal Onion World is featuring Dr Eady’s work on the front cover of its final issue for 2007. The magazine quotes Dr Michael J. Havey, Professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin and USDA research geneticist, as well as world-renowned onion scientist, as predicting that tearless onions will become a mainstay in household kitchens around the world. He said Dr Eady’s work was “clearly the No. 1 topic of discussion at the 5th International Symposium”.