GMO news related to New Zealand

05.12.2012 |

GE Free Northland (New Zealand) supports Maori authorities’ strong opposition to GMOs

GE Free Northland applauded Tai Tokerau Iwi authorities’ strong opposition to genetically modified organisms last week and say the public wants to hold genetically modified organism users accountable for the potential harm they cause and councils to have a strong role in regulating genetically modified organisms. GE Free Northland says many submitters to the regional council’s regional policy statement review have asked for some type of a prohibitive GE policy, similar to the wording in the 2004/14 and 2006/16 NRC Long Term Council Community Plan.

29.11.2012 |

Northland (New Zealand) Maori group organises to discuss GMO concerns

A Hui to discuss Genetically Modified Organisms was hosted by Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi last week. Iwi and invited guests were called upon to discuss Northland Regional Councils proposed Regional Policy Statement which has removed any provisions for managing or controlling Genetically Modified Organisms throughout Northland. “GMOs are an affront to Tikanga Maori and whakapapa, a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and a threat to both the health and wellbeing of Maori, including the environment and conventional and organic agriculture,” declared Percy Tipene, hui attendee.

26.10.2012 |

New Zealand debates use of GE feedstuff

New Zealand trades on the perception we are GM free, yet there is a fine line somewhere (in that we don’t grow GM plants), when considering that our $10 billion dairy industry has bought into GM — something rarely spoken of by the media, Government or Fonterra. AgResearch’s Daisy the cow’s potential to produce allergen-free milk has spurred controversy around genetic modification and, a belief if her milk was launched, this would have a negative impact on New Zealand’s dairy image. The public perception is that our milk is produced from a diet of water, grass and sunshine, supplemented during winter with home-grown silage. The reality is, though, that dairy cows receive thousands of tonnes of GM meal in their mixes. A large shipment of Australian GM cotton seed meal destined for New Zealand’s dairy herds landed in South Canterbury recently.

26.10.2012 |

Anti-GMO groups want to be heard in regional New Zealand policy statement

Northlanders have six weeks to have their say on how the Northland Regional Policy Statement should address the topic of genetically engineered organisms but anti-genetically modified organisms groups say those voices will continue to be ignored. Northland Regional Council's 10-year policy statement is out for submissions until December 3, when independent commissioners will review the document and submissions. GE Free Northland is hoping the review might turn around the council's decision to avoid the subject. Spokeswoman Zelka Grammer claims the RPS committee deliberately deleted previous content that could ring-fence the region from GMOs, yet the draft plan received more submissions about GMOs than on any other subject.

12.10.2012 |

Scientist fired after GE plant mishap in New Zealand

A senior scientist dismissed from Grasslands for serious misconduct is fighting his former employers, who say his actions could have caused a risk to bio security, the environment, and people's health and safety. [...] Dr Kardailsky was conducting experiments with genetically modified ryegrass plants. He was on annual leave on May 24 when a colleague emailed him to say the ryegrass plants were flowering and those flowers needed to be cut back or bagged to prevent pollen spread. [...] But in his reply, Dr Kardailsky asked the colleague not to cut any of the flowering heads of the grass, saying he would look at them on his return to work.

08.10.2012 |

FSANZ uses withdrawn study to defend GM corn against Seralini’s findings

FSANZ is using the withdrawn Velimirov study to defend the safety of GM corn against Seralini's study! Velimirov didn't find increased tumours in the GM-fed mice and this is the finding that FSANZ is 'cherry-picking' in its attempt to discredit Seralini's findings. But Velimirov was testing a different GMO (NK603xMON810 stacked corn) on a different test animal (mouse). Also her study was a multigenerational study to examine effects on reproductive performance, not a chronic toxicity or carcinogenicity study. So unlike Seralini's study, it didn't track time of tumour onset, size or aggression.

02.10.2012 |

GM cow designed to produce milk without an allergy-causing protein

A genetically modified cow whose milk lacks a substance that causes allergic reactions in people has been created by scientists in New Zealand. In their first year of life, two or three in every hundred infants are allergic to a whey protein in milk called BLG. The researchers engineered the cow, called Daisy, to produce milk that doesn't contain the protein.

While the genetic alteration slashed levels of BLG protein in the cow's milk to undetectable levels, it more than doubled the concentrations of other milk proteins called caseins. [...] ”We first of all consider our genetically modified cow a great tool to study allergenicity and do not envision any practical application any time soon,” Wagner added.

27.09.2012 |

Forbidding the use of GM products is a crime against humanity, says vice-president of New Zealand Federated Farmers

Forbidding the use of genetically modified products is a crime against humanity, says Federated Farmers vice-president William Rolleston. [...] ”Public attitudes have changed. The community isn't so opposed to it [GM]. I'm not saying that they want it as a whole, but there's been a bit change in the last 10 years. [...] Years ago when he attended a biotech conference, Dr Rolleston and others were assigned security guards at the hotel to keep out protesters. ”A number of us were assigned personal bodyguards because the threat was real.” However, when he attended a recent conference on the issue there were only about 30 protesters over three days, Dr Rolleston said.

13.09.2012 |

Monsanto suggest non-existing GE kiwi to save New Zeland’s farmers

Monsanto says orchard owners like Cambridge couple Mark and Robyn Gardiner, whose kiwifruit were struck by Psa in 2010, could be helped by the introduction of GE crops. A kiwifruit industry crippled by Psa disease is ripe for introducing genetic modification, says a visiting American biotechnology advocate.

It's estimated Psa disease will damage the kiwifruit industry to the tune of $310-$410 million over the next five years. So a genetically-engineered solution to the disease could have significant economic benefits, said Robert Reiter, vice-president of American agrochemical giant Monsanto.

07.09.2012 |

GM-free means good sales for New Zealand

In the 16 years since genetically modified crops started growing in the United States, New Zealand has remained a GM-free food producer. Not because of red tape, nor because New Zealanders are anti-science. Quite simply it is because GM foods continue to be shunned in New Zealand's high-value export markets. Consumer resistance in Europe, parts of Asia and Australia has largely corralled GM food production to the Americas, where 83 per cent of GM crops are grown. The 11 per cent of GM crops grown in Asia is almost all cotton, not food.