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To GE or not to GE? New Zealand’s dilemma.

Executive Summary

The purpose of this report is to comment on the debate and issues surrounding the Genetic Engineering (GE) debate in relationship to whether New Zealand should allow the use of GE technology or not.

In determining whether New Zealand should allow the use of GE, this report looked at some of the issues impacting on New Zealand agriculture. The report identifies the fact that the New Zealand economy has a dependence on the agricultural sector and that that sector is very vulnerable. This report recommends that New Zealand agriculture needs to form stronger lobby groups, enhance agriculture’s image through positive promotion, and encourage New Zealand agriculture and its associated industries to invest more resources into research and development.  These recommendations are suggested to counteract and restrict the increased compliance cost imposed on New Zealand, created through urbanisation and the shift of political power to the urban voter, to improve the understanding and profile of agriculture and to ensure that New Zealand Agriculture maintains its comparative advantage.

Before the completion of this report, the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification released its findings. This report supports the Royal Commissions findings, to the precautionary use of GE technology. It also recommends that New Zealand Agriculture and its associated industries continue to lobby for the right to use GE as a means of maintaining its comparative advantage in the international marketplace and as a tool to enhance the environmental sustainability of agriculture.

To GE or Not to GE? New Zealand’s Dilemma – Adrian Gault