GMO news related to New Zealand

10.10.2008 |

GE horse vaccine could harm birds

A submission from MAF Biosecurity New Zealand said there was no such thing as ”no risk”.

”The ... studies that need to be carried out on all manner of indigenous New Zealand species ... have simply not been done.” However, a submission from the Conservation Department said there was no reason to oppose the vaccine and that the risk of the virus spreading to native birds was ”very low to nil”. Racing Board chief executive Graeme Hansen said any delay in introducing a vaccine after a flu outbreak would harm the industry and could cost it $219 million in the first three months. ”We need to be able to act immediately.”

10.10.2008 |

Whangarei (New Zealand) Mayor backs ban on GMOs

Whangarei Mayor Stan Semenoff has strongly endorsed calls for the Northland and Auckland Regional Councils to ban field trialing or release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) until all issues surrounding them are resolved. Whangarei District Council’s environment committee today unanimously supported an inter-council working party recommendation to prohibit GMO trialing and release until liability, economic costs and benefits, environmental risks and cultural/community concerns were satisfied.

10.10.2008 |

Far North District Council (New Zealand) joins regional survey on GMOs

The Far North District Council will take part in regional consultation to find out what people think about the outdoor use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Northland. [...] Far North Mayor Wayne Brown says there are too many unanswered questions regarding the use of GMOs and their release into the environment and the Government needs to take a lead role rather than leaving the burden with local authorities. ”We’ve got enough to think about attending to our core business like roads, water, sewerage and waste,” he said. ”We are not prepared to accept liability for GMO use and commit our ratepayers to accept financial responsibility for cleaning up environmental damage and compensating for economic loss that could result from their use.

10.10.2008 |

AgResearch health focus in GM pharma work

AgResearch scientists are working with commercial drug companies to develop genetically modified medicines, considering breast cancer drug Hercepton, Interferon, which slows the onset of multiple sclerosis, and human lactoferrin. The company’s applied biotechnologies manager, Jimmy Suttie, said AgResearch had been involved in genetic modification (GM) technology for eight years and viewed biopharming, or the production of pharmaceutical proteins in milk, as a suitable application given widely-used drugs were coming off patent in the next three years.

10.10.2008 |

New GM regulations give greater assurances in New Zealand

New regulations for the conditional release of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) will provide greater assurance for industry and the public in regard to traceability and segregation, Environment Minister Trevor Mallard announced today. ”The regulations, gazetted today and effective from 7 November 2008 (28 days after gazettal), tighten up the regime around the ability to segregate and trace conditionally released GMOs,” Trevor Mallard said. ”The changes are the result of the cooperation agreement with the Green Party.

10.10.2008 |

Food Authority critic calls for regained control of regulation in New Zealand

The Sustainability Council is calling for New Zealand to regain control of its food safety regulation, by renegotiating a trans-Tasman agreement on food standards. The council says the national regulator, the Food Safety Authority (NZFSA), last year shopped for a more palatable assessment of the safety of a genetically-engineered maize after it received an unfavourable evaluation from state science company, Environmental Science and Research (ESR). ”New Zealand can, in theory, go its own way and decline approval for a particular new food,” said the council’s executive director, Simon Terry.

30.09.2008 |

New Zealand’s Government covers up GE animal suffering

The Government is covering up animal welfare and other concerns about AgResearch’s genetic engineering facility at Ruakura by refusing to answer any parliamentary questions about the research, says Greens Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons. Research, Science and Technology Minister Pete Hodgson has declined to answer a raft of written parliamentary questions; for example, ”How many genetically modified deformed foetuses have been created by AgResearch in the past eight years?”, ”How does AgResearch quantify ’long-term’ in its press release of September 4, 2008 ’long term suffering to the mother’ and ’long-term suffering to the recipient is highly unlikely’?” and ”How many genetically modified calves suffering from respiratory conditions have been created by AgResearch in the past eight years?”

26.09.2008 |

Only limited transgenic cow herds in New Zealand

Dairy farmers were unlikely to run herds of hundreds of transgenic cows, as small numbers would supply most of the genetically modified material required by pharmaceutical companies, AgResearch said this week. At a media day at its Ruakura campus, near Hamilton, AgResearch manager of applied biotechnology Jimmy Suttie said its initial focus was the production of transgenic proteins for health supplements or to treat sick people, but it was keeping future options open. Herds of 40 or 50 cows could supply enough protein for those markets and farms were likely to also need some form of milk processing capacity so the only transgenic product leaving a farm would be milk powder or something similar.

19.09.2008 |

New GE animals from New Zeland could cope with climate change

New transgenic pasture varieties developed in New Zealand to help farmers cope with climate change could end up being sold to overseas farmers. AgResearch chief executive Andy West told the Meat Industry Association annual conference his scientists were breeding some exciting new pasture varieties that would cope with a different climate. He could not reveal more details about the varieties’ traits until patents had been secured, but said the chances of the new species being used commercially in New Zealand were remote because of a reluctance to use genetically modified products.

17.09.2008 |

New Zealand’s local councils liable for damages by GE crop trials

Northland ratepayers could shoulder the risk if a field trial of genetically modified organisms goes wrong in the region. The risks and management options of GMO trials is being considered by a Northland and Auckland working party, which includes both the Whangarei District and Northland Regional Councils. It found local councils would have to pay for any environmental damage if a GMO release, approved by the Environmental Risk Management Agency, was to go wrong.