GMO news related to New Zealand

06.09.2012 |

Biotech lobby urges New Zealand to embrace GE crops

Biotechnology researchers say the agriculture sector in New Zealand needs to embrace genetically-modified technology or run the risk of being left behind. Clive James founded the United Kingdom-based organisation the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. [...] Dr James says the choice for New Zealand farmers and orchardists is simple. ”For you to be competitive in the export market, you've got to have the best product, the best quality. ”If you don't invest in this technology, then you don't have access to that. You become non-competitive and lose markets and you'll end up paying the highest price for the poorest product - that's not what you want to do.”

07.08.2012 |

New Zealand canola growers determined to stay GE-free

New Zealand growers of oilseed rape or canola say experiences overseas have convinced them they need to stay clear of genetically engineered crops. The chairman of the rapeseed growers group, South Canterbury farmer Jeremy Talbot, agrees with a visiting Australian farmer, Bob Mackley, who has been brought to New Zealand by the Green Party to talk about the consequences of having GE crops in his area (western Victoria). Mr Mackley says New Zealand needs to be aware that once the green light is given for GE production, there is no turning back.

04.06.2012 |

Call to make most of GE free status of Hawke’s Bay (New Zealand)

An easy economic boost is within Hawke’s Bay’s grasp by making official its current genetically engineered free food status, says grower John Bostock of Pure Hawke’s Bay. The group of growers commissioned a Colmar Brunton poll that shows councils have a clear mandate for the move - 84 per cent of Hawke’s Bay residents want the region to remain GE free. “This is about putting Hawke’s Bay on the map as one of the world’s premium food producing regions,” Mr Bostock said. “If you want to position as a premium producer, you don’t go anywhere near GE.

09.05.2012 |

Destroyed New Zealand GE pines trial to be re-planted

Forest research institute Scion has confirmed it will continue its genetically engineered tree trial and will replace hundreds of genetically modified pines destroyed last month, while police continue to investigate the attack. [...] Scion chief executive Dr Warren Parker says the research is important to the forest industry and the institute has decided the field trial should continue, but under even tighter security. Dr Parker says the cost of replacing the destroyed trees, extra security and lost time, will add up to about $1 million.

16.04.2012 |

GE maize and soya foods from South Africa ’could be illegal’ in New Zealand

GE Free New Zealand has just received the results from GE testing on infant foods and gluten free products undertaken in South Africa. These have confirmed that the South African foods significantly exceeded the percentage levels of GE maize and soy that the importer had informed us of. What is more concerning is that the very high levels may be from illegal unapproved GE events. The test findings support concerns raised, but previously dismissed by Countdown supermarkets, the importer, and the NZ Food and Grocery Council, that nobody seems to know or have a system in place to identify what GM variants are being sold in New Zealand or whether they are legal.

13.04.2012 |

GM trials’ failure in NEw Zealand ”not law’s fault”

Genetically modified crop trials have failed to take off in New Zealand for reasons other than the strict legal barriers blamed by developers, the Sustainability Council says.

[...] the “think tank” found the drop in the number of GM field trials was mainly due to other factors, such as loss of funding and technical difficulties. Sustainability Council executive director Simon Terry said state-funded research and development programmes had once promised to bring GM fruit, vegetables, pasture grasses and livestock to New Zealand fields and tables. Since the 1980s, tens of millions of dollars of public science funding had gone into developing GM organisms, mostly to CRIs.

13.04.2012 |

GE pine trial destroyed in New Zeland

Scientists have slammed the “senseless” destruction of hundreds of genetically-engineered pine trees during a break-in at a Rotorua plantation. Scion planted 375 radiata pines last year to test herbicide resistance and study reproductive development. The company said damage to the trees, which occurred over the Easter Weekend, will cost around $400,000. Scion Chief Executive Dr Warren Parker describes this as a blatant act of vandalism designed to end Scion’s genetic modification research programme.

09.01.2012 |

GE Free New Zealand oppose approval of food and feed made of 2,4-D resistant corn

There are concerns that New Zealand Food Regulator Food Standards Australia New Zealand is being manipulated by a Chemical Company to gain US government approval for new GE crops designed to survive its proprietary herbicide 2,4-D. Applications have recently been made in the US that seek to exploit the Food Standards Australia NZ approval for importation of 2,4-D corn and soy that was made late 2011, despite appeals to the Minister against approval on safety grounds.

25.11.2011 |

Australian researchers have developed non-GE wheat lines that are resistant to crown rot

Queensland scientists believe they have made a breakthrough in breeding against crown rot in wheat. In what is considered to have been the Holy Grail for Australian plant breeders, a research team from the Department of Economic Development, Employment and Innovation has bred a number of wheat lines showing resistance to the complex fungal disease. But the first commercial disease-resistant wheat variety is not expected to be released for about another seven to 10 years.

22.11.2011 |

New Zealand government caught be surprise by study on relaxing GE laws

A highly sensitive Government study into how much money can be made by changing genetic engineering laws will be underway immediately after the election. Environment Minister Nick Smith is facing embarrassment after admitting he knew nothing about the study. [...] The study aims to find out how much money can be made by relaxing laws governing GE and the release of foreign organisms into our environment.