GMO news related to New Zealand

05.09.2008 |

Deformed GE calves don’t enhance New Zealand’s image

A huge press statement by AgResearch today in which it tries to justify its application to genetically engineer a wide range of animals, plus human and monkey cells, inadvertently shows sad downsides to GE research such as deformed foetuses and calves. ”In its statement today, the Crown research institute makes some outrageous claims as ’facts’ in the 35 questions it asks and answers for itself headed ’Fact or Fiction’,” Greens Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says. ”For example it admits a less than 9 percent live birth rate, aborted deformed foetuses, deformed calves, gangrenous udders and ’animals suffering from respiratory conditions’, but denies there are animal welfare concerns.

04.09.2008 |

Lack of GM response in New Zealand surprises

Government science institutes are leading the GM charge. [...] Whether a market will be found for whatever vegetables are developed is a moot point. It’s instructive to note that around 98 per cent of all GM crops grown around the world (in acreage terms) comprise just corn, soy, canola and cotton, much of it for animal feed. GM potatoes developed for human consumption failed in the commercial world, killed off when they were eschewed by the fast food industry. The commercial reality is that food markets have not been as GM friendly as the scientists were hoping six years ago.

04.09.2008 |

Consultation period on New Zealand’s GE law revision ends

Genetically modified food landing on New Zealand dinner plates is looking less likely with public consultation on tough new laws ending today. Critics say the laws will ”stop good science in its tracks” but supporters argue it is essential to protect the integrity of conventional and organic crops. If passed, the laws will impose strict new rules including increased public disclosure of the planting locations, new regulations to ensure GM crops are kept separate and are able to be traced and mandatory labelling of GM crops.

04.09.2008 |

A controversial plan field-testing GM onions and leeks has been debated in New Zealand

A controversial plan to grow genetically modified onions and leeks on fields near Christchurch has been debated at a hearing on Tuesday. Crop and Food has been growing genetically modified (GM) onions in glasshouses and now they are applying to grow onions, leeks and garlic on two hectares at Lincoln in Canterbury. The scientists say it is a chance to assess the impact the crops will have on the environment.

18.08.2008 |

Agresearch (New Zealand) seeks new long term GE pharma animal approvals

The Government’s biggest science company, Agresearch, has asked regulators to approve a wide-ranging application to genetically engineer 18 different animals for commercial production of pharmaceuticals. The pastoral science company would develop in the laboratory cell-lines including humans and monkeys, E coli and yeast. Using these they would develop GE cows, buffalo, sheep, pigs, goats, llamas, alpacas, deer, and horses.

31.07.2008 |

Advisers to decide if GE onions can seed in field trials in New Zealand

Environmental advisers to the regulatory watchdog which will decide whether state scientists can allow genetically engineered onions to set seed in a Canterbury field say it is ”highly improbable” viable plant material will escape. Crop and Food Research scientists want approval of a 10 year field test of GE onions, spring onions, leeks and garlic – all members of the allium family – to assess their performance and environmental impact in the field.

31.07.2008 |

Bt63 contaminated Chinese rice product withdrawn in New Zealand

An imported rice product has been withdrawn from sale, after it was found to have trace quantities of an unauthorised genetically modified (GM) rice variety. New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) ensured the withdrawal after tests showed traces of (GM) rice variety, Bt63, in "rice vermicelli" from China. NZFSA was not aware of health concerns from eating the product, it said. "However, Bt63 is not approved for sale in food in New Zealand as it has not had a Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) safety assessment."

31.07.2008 |

Proposed changes to regulation of GM crop management in New Zealand

Proposals for new regulations for the management of genetically modified crops under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act are open for public input. 
The proposed regulations were announced by Environment Minister Trevor Mallard today. In accordance with the HSNO Act, the Minister has asked the Environmental Risk Management Authority to begin consultation on the proposals and to report back by 22 August. The purpose of the proposed changes is to provide a greater level of transparency, accountability and public openness in the management of GM crops should they be approved for use in New Zealand.

31.07.2008 |

Zespri (New Zealand) staying GE Free

Zespri are keeping Kiwi fruit 'GE free' and say that new DNA research will be used ethically to enhance traditional breeding without genetically engineering New Zealand's iconic fruit. Bryan Parkes, Innovation Leader for New Products at ZESPRI says the industry has a significant program in new variety development using natural breeding, not genetic engineering. "No GM technology is used. The use of gene markers does not involve any genetic modification and only makes the screening of the seedlings produced by pollination and germination more efficient," he says. "Industry support for GE-free agriculture is vital and fits with New Zealand's clean, green , natural image that is vital to the economy," says Jon Carapiet from GE-free NZ in food and environment.

09.07.2008 |

Far North District Council (New Zealand) supports GE control investigation

GE-Free Northland has welcomed the Far North District Council’s decision to spend $15,000 on an investigation into local control of genetically modified crops and field trials. The council allocated the money in its 2008-2009 Annual Plan as a contribution towards the work of an inter-council working party that is evaluating risks posed by genetically modified organisms. Spokewoman for the group Zelka Grammer is pleased the council has committed funds to the working party, which is made up of representatives from eight Auckland and Northland councils.