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Guest Post: Sneaky and sudden Government move on genetic engineering

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 am, July 31st, 2015 - 166 comments
Categories: Environment - Tags: , ,


Everyone who has opposed the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into their districts needs to be alarmed at a sneaky Government move to over-ride local council regulations about this matter.

This applies particularly to Auckland, Bay of Plenty, and Northland council districts.

The Government has inserted a clause (Cl. 6.4) into its latest proposal for a National Environment Standard on Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) which specifically includes a provision permitting afforestation using genetically modified tree stock where it has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996.

This is “legislation by stealth” according to a NZ Herald story of 20 July 2015.

The proposed National Environment Standard on Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) would loosen restrictions on genetically modified pine trees and force councils to remove wording around GMO trees from their policies and plan changes.

Whangarei District Council, Far North District Council and Northland Regional Council are among those that have used the Resource Management Act to put restrictions on the release of GMOs, in addition to those provided under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act.

But this new NES-PF would see councils lose the right to use their Resource Management Act powers to restrict the planting of GE trees.

Submissions on this matter need to be at the Ministry for Primary Industries by 5pm on Tuesday 11 August 2015.

Email to NES-PFConsultation@mpi.govt.nz or
Post to : Stuart Miller, Spatial, Forestry & Land Management
Ministry for Primary Industries
P O Box 2526, WELLINGTON 6140


[Paragraph regarding EPA deleted at request of author]

166 comments on “Guest Post: Sneaky and sudden Government move on genetic engineering ”

  1. dv 1

    AND we believe that we will know what is in the TPP !!!!

  2. Skinny 2

    This is a disgraceful move by the National dictatorship. Many activist groups have fought hard campaigning to keep their Region GE free. Gaining support of the public and local councils in the process, only to now be ridden rough shod over by a Government pandering too their rich corporate mates.

    We will fight back against any move to allow this change occurring in Northland. Good work Kelvin Davis for taking up the fight.

    Keep Northland Pine Forests GE-Free

    Public Meeting Today

    Forum North, Cafler Lounge

    Friday 31 July
    5.30pm to 7.30pm
    Hosted by Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP, Kelvin Davis

  3. Switts 3

    What are the actual concerns about the use of GM trees in New Zealand? Not justifying Nationals actions, just curious.

    • Jenny Kirk 3.1

      To Switts – possibly that the after-effects of the use of GMOs are unknown – both short-term, and long-term. Plus, I should think, concern about whether the birds and insects which eat the seeds/flowers/needles/whatever on GMO trees might then also become sterile or their progeny deformed in some way. Who really knows ?
      That’s why its better to be ultra-cautious about using GMOs, or letting them out into the greater NZ countryside.

      • Gosman 3.1.1

        In short you are anti-science.

        • Jenny Kirk

          Not at all Gosman – pro-responsible science.

          And also knowing that in its relatively short-term populating by Europeans, NZ has picked up a huge amount of undesirables which already damage our environment wind-blow, birds dropping seed everywhere, people bringing in new organisms when they arrive in NZ etc. Think gorse, old man’s beard and other weeds, possums, ferrets, liquid detergents ending up in waterways, the poison in spray cans, to name just a few of the more recent examples.

          • Gosman

            You are confusing two separate issues. The uncontrolled or accidental spread of exotics and the resulting damage has very little to do with the controlled introduction of different varieties or even new species. Additionally the risks around the introduction of different varieties or even new species in a controlled manner should not be impacted whether it is a GMO or not. It is the anti-science brigade who make an artifical distinction based on fear of the unknown.

            • dukeofurl

              Your plan for rolling back the GMOs if there is yet to be identified problems?

              As is described with things like gorse, tough luck.

              Barely a week after the crisis that was “SERCUS”, you seem to suggest “what could go wrong”?

              • Gosman

                What would the plan be to roll back a non GMO plant or animal that was introduced in a controlled manner? I expect the plan for a GMO would be identical.

                • Aaron

                  Gosman, you’re out of your depth and clearly just opposing everything you see on this website. If you had bothered to get informed you would be aware that genetic engineering as a science is in it’s infancy and that GMO’s regularly have all sorts of unintended consequences that the experimenters didn’t predict.

                  A lot of scientists have been silenced on this issue but there are a few out there such as New Zealander, Dr John Clearwater who have been speaking out – actually he lost his job for speaking out. There’s also Arpad Puztai who lost his 30 year job at the Rowett Institute in Scotland for showing that a particular GMO caused pre-cancerous lesions in mice. He has quite a lot to say about this issue as well.

                  Anyway, the problem here isn’t that we’re anti science, it’s just that you’re a dickhead who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but does know how to employ PR spin lines.

                  • Gosman

                    Provide me links that suggest GMO technology is in it’s infancy please.

                    According to this article on Wikipedia direct transfer of genetic material from one organism to another has been happening since 1973.


                    This would mean the technology is older than mobile phone technology which some would argue is also pootentially damaging. Do you want to ban Mobile phones as well?

                    • Aaron

                      Stop trying to draw me into other debates – it’s just typical trolling tactics. GE is in it’s infancy because they can’t yet predict the results of what they are doing and because they don’t yet know what most of the DNA actually does.

                      They have lots more to learn.

                • ReDBaronCV

                  Well Gos you’d better get out there this weekend to roll back a few non GMO plants and animals that are a pest. Have a great weekend cutting gorse and setting possum traps – don’t catch yourself accidentally!

        • Blue Horseshoe

          Given that is the best you can come up with, it’s hard to imagine why you bothered at all..

          Take a special kind of stupid arsehole to make such asinine comments

        • Anne

          In short your knowledge of the sciences appears sub zero Gosman.

          • Gosman

            Ummm… I’m pretty certain that many in mainstream science (probably even a majority of Scientists) have no problem with the concept of GMO’s. On this issue you are very much on the outer with mainstream science viewpoints.

            • Colonial Viper

              Bullshit. Show me the evidence that the majority of scientists support the introduction of GMOs into the NZ ecosystem.

              Or are you just making up shit in the name of science.

              • Gosman

                Did I state anything about the NZ context?


                “A Pew Research Center study on science literacy, undertaken in cooperation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and released on January 29, contains a blockbuster: In sharp contrast to public skepticism about GMOs, 88% of scientists believe genetically modified foods are safe.”

                • Blue Horseshoe

                  Gulp Gulp Gulp

                  Glyphosate tastes good and perhaps the “88% of scientists” enjoy it on cereal or in coffee for breakfast

                  Where are all the allergies, illnesses, intolerance’s and cancers coming from again

                  Oh, yes that’s right. Man-made environmentally and biologically harmful products in the ground, air and water, which is eaten, drunken, breathed and worn.

                  • Gosman

                    Do you have a problem with the scientific consensus on AGW as well?

                    • Kelly-Ned

                      I do.
                      Consensus isn’t science.
                      Science requires proof end clear evidence. Anything less is just an opinion.

              • Clean_power

                As a follower of bogus homeopathy, you do not believe in science, CV. Your anti-vaccination stance shows you as a true enemy of science.

                • Blue Horseshoe

                  What a terribly confused statement you have managed to render…

                  So many contradictions in so few words

                  Thanks for highlighting yourself as another tool to audience

        • Colonial Viper

          In short you are anti-science.

          What a dickwad comment. Do you know anything about science yourself or are you just repeating mantras?

          For instance, where is the “science” behind the government’s decision to sneak unwanted technologies into our ecosystem?

          Do you believe that you can turn off your own critical judgement in favour of “science” – and how is turning off your own critical judgement scientific???

        • RJL


          There are four problems with introducing GMO into our eco-system:

          1) As with any introduced species, the new GMO species may escape controlled farmed environments and cause substantial damage to the existing eco-system.

          2) GMO species have intended (and perhaps some unintended) functions or properties that would be unlikely to arise in nature. This is not as big a deal as some seem to think, but may make accidental releases more difficult to control (typically GMO organisms have deliberate resistances to pesticides, for example, or are more resistant to drought, or cold, or similar). Hybrids of escaped GMO organisms and existing species in the ecosystem could also inherit these troublesome properties (or develop additional ones).

          3) Farming GMO species often means more use of pesticides and the like, that may damage the wider ecosystem. The point of pesticide resistance in crops, is that you can dump more pesticides on them.

          4) Use of GMO ties the farmer into the product system of the company (such as Monsanto). This creates difficulties changing suppliers, creates yet another off-shore revenue stream (i.e. a loss to our domestic economy) and means that the farm (and if widespread economy) becomes increasingly beholden to decisions made by the GMO supplying company. Even “all of NZ” would be a small part of Monsanto’s customer base: so the primary focus of Monsanto’s business decisions will not be the interest of NZ.

      • Capn Insano 3.1.2

        In general terms I prefer not to demonise GMO across the board as some people seem want to do as there could be a number of benefits in many cases. I encourage people to do more research and also to those that may think it unnatural I would point out that much of what we eat [through the process of up to thousands of years of artificial selection] is far removed from their wild ancestral forms already.
        There have also been other far more crude methods of producing new varieties in more recent times.

        Now, as to this particular case I’m not sure how you can suggest animals feeding on these trees could become sterile themselves, I’m sure this would have been noticed in the many years of GMO crop use.

        I do wonder if it would be possible for us to sustainably produce native tree species rather than pine, I’ve seen criticisms in growing pine as it is quite uncommon in global forestry as I understand it. Wouldn’t it be better to figure out sound and ecological ways to supply our own unique timbers?

        • Colonial Viper

          I encourage people to do more research and also to those that may think it unnatural I would point out that much of what we eat [through the process of up to thousands of years of artificial selection] is far removed from their wild ancestral forms already.

          It’s not really comparable because GMO technology splices together genetic material which would never ever successfully mix in nature. In other words, the technology overrides many of natures safeguards and protocols.

          Now, as to this particular case I’m not sure how you can suggest animals feeding on these trees could become sterile themselves, I’m sure this would have been noticed in the many years of GMO crop use.

          Now you are speaking as if “GMO crop use” is to do with a static kind or single type of crop. It isn’t. It is a massive and massively changing category of organisms.

          The danger that GMO poses is a systemic and negative change to our ecosystem which will be irreversible. Nassem Taleb has spoken and written about this.

          • Capn Insano

            It’s also more precise though is it not? You would have a better idea what’s going on making one change rather than, for example, hybridising which could result in numerous genomic changes affecting any number of proteins or traits.

            I don’t get your answer about GMO crop use though in relation to my query regarding the assertion of induced sterility of animals. What basis does one have to make this assertion?

            I couldn’t find Nassem Taleb, could you be refering to Nassim Taleb perhaps?
            And would it be this person you are referring to?

            Far be it for me to agree with Gos but I have also noticed that some people accept the consensus behind Climate change yet balk at the consensus behind genetic modification. I’m somewhat concerned as some rightly accuse the Right of ignoring science when it’s inconvenient for them wrt climate change.

            • Aaron

              The use of the term precise is interesting. Genetic Engineering is very precise in that they can choose a specific gene to insert into the host DNA but then but after that things start to fall apart as their methods of inserting the gene are akin to a blind monkey playing darts.

              They have to make thousands of attempts to get a gene to insert properly and even then it’s still likely the organism will either fail to reproduce or fail to do what they want.

              Eventually they get one that seems to work but often find unintended consequences after the organism matures. It all depends where the new gene lands in the DNA sequence, which is something they have no control over.

        • Naturesong

          I do wonder if it would be possible for us to sustainably produce native tree species rather than pine, I’ve seen criticisms in growing pine as it is quite uncommon in global forestry as I understand it. Wouldn’t it be better to figure out sound and ecological ways to supply our own unique timbers?

          Yes, this is possible raise polyculture forests.

          But, the incentive is not to.

          Pine has a turnaround time from planting to harvest of 25 (to 35) years.
          It produces a lightweight softwood.
          * cheap furniture (as in quality as well as cost) – lifespan 50+ if looked after
          * Plywood; structural mostly – Lifespan 10-15 years
          * MDF, HDF – Lifespan up to 20 years
          * Treated – for structural uses; LOSP (light organic solvent-based preservative) and CCA (Chromated copper arsenate) – Lifespan 50+ years

          The production of these items return far more profit than if they were to grow forests containing the far superior natives: Kowhai (NZ’s hardest wood), Puriri (our very own Vitae!! and my favourite NZ tree), Rimu, Kahikatea, Beech (Red, Silver and black), Black Maire, Totara, Kauri, etc.
          All timbers that are superiour to pine for uses in engineering, building, furnature … And beautiful too.

          It’s all about this question: how do we grow and harvest the maximum amount of cellulose at the cheapest price.
          Timber that takes 80 years to grow, or coppicing (which is labour intensive) is not viable given current forestry regulation.

          It also means that my generation, and the one following me (at least) will never have the pleasure of working with these woods.

          *note: there is some sustainably grown beech (in that they have to replant in beech after harvest rather than convert to the cheaper, quicker profit of pine).

          • Capn Insano

            Ah, thank you. I did suspect there might be an issue with time needed for growing but didn’t realise it was that big a difference. Pity, it would be nice to have more of a timber/manufactured goods industry that does well out of our natives [and not by hacking into our few remaining native forests].

            • maui

              I think we’ve cooked the native timber opportunity, the few remaining forests left have had their valuable timber taken already (totara, rimu, matai), and remaining forests are in hard to reach places and quite rightly have protected status.

              There was a thing on Country Calendar a few years back which showed a couple legally milling giant rimu on their private property. Some of these rimu were around 800 years old and they said they selected trees to chop down that looked to be rotting out… It didn’t look overly scientific, more about greed to extract valuable timber. They claimed it was sustainable because they would plant several rimu as replacements. This practice is not sustainable at all, in twenty years all the ancient trees are gone and you have to wait 800 years for your planted trees to replace them.

        • Richard Christie

          +100% on all points

      • Kevin 3.1.3

        It’s called the precautionary principle.


        Which is fine so long as you’re not using it as a excuse not to do anything, even when the scientific consensus says it’s perfectly safe.

  4. Wensleydale 4

    Monsanto’s tentacles reach everywhere. Thanks John, you’re a loyal citizen of our great nation with only our best interests at heart. You deserve a knighthood just as much as your dear friend, Peter Talley.

  5. Blue Horseshoe 5

    It’s been said previously so I will repeat it again….

    The TPPA is about the GMO and Pharmaceuticals industry, primarily

    Existing restrictions would likely be a barrier in the GMO / GE space, even under TPPA, so any barriers need to be removed, severely weakened, or have Trojan Horse reference points injected which can be used in future legal challenges

    Maui in Hawaii being a case study for the removal of democratic process

    In no way should this be considered a surprise or an isolated case, with passing law by stealth being something the corporate law authors have been mastering for decades in the USA

    This is a very dangerous situation, which has now just escalated significantly

    • Jenny Kirk 5.1

      Totally agree with you, Blue Horseshoe. And its very scarey. It seems nothing will stop this government from doing huge damage to our lovely country and its people.

      • Blue Horseshoe 5.1.1

        Jenny, it’s not only to do with ‘this government’…

        It is to go with ‘all governments’, present and future. Regardless of the colours they use, all of the representative and parties come under exactly the same pressures, likely to consist of blackmail and outright violent and non violent threats.

        Sure some of them are more ideologically insane than others, but the outcomes will be exactly the same, regardless.

        To believe that a change of government will halt the now, openly exposed agendas which are being forced openly, and subversively rolled out around the world, is naive.

        People need to accept, bloody quickly that it is the systems which are being used against the vast majority, and those systems need to be taken apart, or taken over.

        Time is short, as these exposures attest.

        We can speculate what else has been hidden inside legislature while eyes are on this particular instance.

    • Gosman 5.2

      Do you agree that any decision on GMO’s should be based on the best science available and not on fear of possible unknowns?

      • mickysavage 5.2.1

        The science is hardly settled and the risks are huge so yes decisions on the release of GMOs should be based on the precautionary principle.

        • Gosman

          Wow! The science is hardly settled. Now where have I seen that argument before?

          Btw do you think the Science is settled around potential harm from Vaccines or Mobile Phones or any other wacky hippy health idea out there?

          • Colonial Viper

            Gosman if you can’t stick to a topic, don’t raise it as an argument in the first place.

            • Gosman

              What do you mean stick to the topic? I wasn’t the person who tried to divert it in to a whole “The science isn’t settled” red herring. If someone tried that on a post here on AGW they would likely receive a ban by one of the moderators. Tell me why 88% support amongst the wider Scientific community isn’t settled please?


              • Aaron

                The phrase the ‘science isn’t settled’ is a little misleading. They certainly have settled on ways of producing GMO’s but their methods are incredibly haphazard and they really don’t know what the result will be until they try to grow the new organism.

                Incidentally, for a long time scientists referred to most of the DNA as ‘junk DNA’. It’s an incredibly arrogant term and what it really meant was that they couldn’t work out what most of the DNA did so they assumed it did nothing. A while back someone started patenting some of this ‘junk’ DNA (which is an abomination in itself) and has successfully sued people for using ‘his’ DNA when they did discover what it could do.

                And no I don’t’ have references, it’s been a while since I did the research but anyone with an open mind could find out what they need to if they want to – and yes, I realise that rules you out Gosman.

                • Gosman

                  Ahhh… the old ‘anyone with an open mind knows what I am stating is the truth’ line. Let’s apply that to every argument you disagree with and see if you think it is valid after that. 😉

                  • Aaron

                    Oh yes, I’m quite clear that you don’t have an open mind, but then that’s not why you’re here is it?

                    Nice attempt to distract me into another argument by the way but I should point out that you didn’t respond to the substance of my argument Mr Troll.

      • Skinny 5.2.2

        Regardless Central Government should not be meddling in what Local Government decide on, which is the will of the local people after wide campaigning and general agreement of the local people.

        This is typical of a Government that has lost the plot and knows it is on it’s way out, so makes undemocratic moves in a power drunk manner that are hard to reverse once their tossed out on their ear. Signing the TPPA against public opinion and this trickle down move shows this regime is dangerous. Like many corrupt regimes they will be over thrown.

    • Rosie 5.3

      +1 to you too Blue Horseshoe

  6. Gosman 6

    Wouldn’t any decision by the EPA on whether a GMO tree was safe or not be based on the best science available?

    It seems that many leftists are quite happy to fall back on science when it comes to AGW but as soon as it is an area they are not comfortable with they fall back on arguments based on fear of the unknown.

    • Jenny Kirk 6.1

      Not necessarily, Gosman. Under this National government, too many of our agencies which are meant to safe-guard us, are NOT doing that at all.

      • Gosman 6.1.1

        Then you should highlight the agencies that have been corrrupted and provide evidence for this corruption. I would expect a decent opposition to attack the Government on this point and promise to reform the corrupted institutions. Yet I see no evidence that the Opposition has even raised a concern that organisations like the EPA have been influenced let alone corrupted completely by the government. Why do you think that is?

        • Blue Horseshoe

          Gossip, this is too serious a thread for your infantile interjections

          Clearly whomever or whatever is controlling your handle does not give the slightest fuck about the the well being of this planet or the natural systems which are failing, and being decimated by the man-made systems you endorse and actively support here

          Trotting around demanding evidence is trolll 101 so the perhaps you can brush up on some new ‘world class’ techniques, and try a little harder

          Seriously mate, if you are a human being take a good look at yourself then give yourself an uppercut or a hug. Whichever feels like the one you more deserve

          Don’t bullshit yourself, because you are a bullshitter, and have been outed as a bullshitter from day one

          Perhaps you can tell us all about counter party risk again, and how the derivatives market functions. Its a man-made instrument, responsible for death and destruction around the globe , which you actively support and endorse.

          Makes sense you would turn up here on the ‘pro’ side of GMO /GE , while actually having nothing at all to offer by way of ‘scientific evidence’ to prove that it is safe now, or ever will be in future.

          The ‘scientific evidence’ is so heavily against the ‘safety’ of GMO /GE , it is any wonder that your controllers are even bothering passing comment on this subject

          Fuck wit(s)

        • Aaron

          A review of ERMA’s processes a few years back showed that there were 49 different flaws in how they assess if GMOs were safe to release into the environment. Surely you remember the quote; “you wouldn’t use a condom with 49 holes” from that debate?

          Corruption doesn’t necessarily mean there is a smoking email somewhere, it is usually much more subtle than that – but thanks for the straw man argument.

    • Blue Horseshoe 6.2

      Maybe speak with the farmers in India then , dickhead

    • Brigid 6.3

      It’s got nothing to do with being left, right or bloody diagonal.
      For gods sake Gosman do a little thinking for your self this time. Can you unequivocally state that GM trees will do no harm to the environment? Don’t forget, while you’re considering this, GMO environmental damage can not be undone.
      Besides what attributes do these trees have? Do you know? What is the advantage to the average New Zealander in allowing the the planting of these trees.
      I’d say none. The land is probably foreign owned, will be worked by imported labour, and the crop will be exported as raw logs with value added in a foreign country by foreign companies.
      And then we get to import it. But that is another whole story.

      • Gosman 6.3.1

        I trust the Science on this issue. You seem to be relying on the fear of the unknown. That is not how I believe policy should be made.

        • dukeofurl

          “Government officials are trying to determine how a genetically modified fungus was used outside of containment facilities at Lincoln University.
          The fungus, Beauveria bassiana, was found in restricted access laboratories and greenhouses away from a designated containment area on the University’s campus near Christchurch on March 7.”


          Trust the Science who can never make mistakes ?

          • Gosman

            Why is this any different to a trial of a new to NZ non GMO plant ?

            • Aaron

              Because they can’t predict all the characteristics of a GMO. Because they are novel organisms that have never been seen before and because genetic engineering bypasses the normal mechanisms that prevent dangerous ‘irregularities’ from emerging.

              • Gosman

                Ummm… so are some plants that have been genetically modified in a ‘natural’ manner. Yet you seem quite happy if they get released in to the environment.

                • Aaron

                  What a stupid comment – there are no plants that have been modified in a natural manner that have also bypassed natural safety mechanisms. That’s the definition of natural!

                  As trolling attempts go I’d give that a 1 out of 10

                  think before you type, think before you type, think before you type…

                  • Gosman

                    What are these ‘natural safety mechanism’ you reference? There are lots of examples of hybrids being ‘naturally created by grafting. Where is the natural safety mechanism in that?

                    • dukeofurl

                      Why do mules not reproduce ?

                      is that a ‘natural safety mechanism’ and not as though mules can he harmful to any other species?

                    • Aaron

                      It’s called the species barrier. And yes you can graft different species together within a limited family of organisms but show me where they grafted a tomato onto a carrot. The fact that grafting only works within a narrow ‘family’ of species just reinforces my point – that’s the natural safety mechanism in action.

                      Typical PR spin again – although I quite like it, I hadn’t heard that line before

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      The other point that Gosman has avoided pointing out – all the potential benefits are in terms of foreign corporate profits. All the risks are in terms of fucking up the NZ environment for Kiwis.

                      You can always depend on a traitor like Gosman to give this kind of thing the thumbs up.

            • Naturesong

              Your argument, like many proponents of GMO is specious.

              The wood grown, and the timber produced may indeed be safe for humans and not kill wildlife – And in fact I would be very surprised if it did any of these things.

              So I concede fully your sciency point on the safety of timber produced from GMO trees.

              Now. What else do GMO crops affect?
              * Opportunity cost: GMO crops, particularly trees displace by design natives. So no Kauri, Rimu, Totara, Puriri timbers in future.
              * Global Warming: GMO trees are likely to be grown as a monoculture which vastly reduces the amount of carbon sequestered per hectare.
              This issue is not specific to GMO, but GMO’s are likely to continue this trend. (can also be considered opportunity cost)
              * Biodiversity: GMO crops, if able to reproduce (life’s no 1 imperative), pose a risk of displacing natives that currently hold similar positions in the forest hierarchy (re: Monsanto’s maize genetics found in farms close to those using Monsanto corn)
              * Democracy: Successful multinationals us whatever means they have at their disposal to ensure greater profits. It’s their raison d’être.
              Monsanto is particularly aggressive in the way it influences and bends lawmakers to its will. Whether it be campaign funding (or funding your opponent). The amount spent on Lobbying in the US (state and federal) is massive. They don’t spend that money for fun, they get a return on their investment by building in regulatory advantage. This also affects ….
              * Innovation: The GMO field is dominated by 6 companies (BASF, Bayer, Dupont, Dow Chemical Company, Monsanto, and Syngenta). The cornering of the global seed market (normal seeds, not just the ones they develop) by these few companies via IP law (TPP anyone?) drives up the already costly enterprise of naturally breeding plants with specific characteristics.

              Any small seed company that starts to be successful?
              Well, you know what big companies do to little companies that might one day threaten their bottom line.

              And which country has had incredible success with natural breeding programs?
              Hint: starts with New, ends in Zealand.

              I’m pretty sure there are more externalities and risks to be found, but this was just off the top of my head.

              edit: Also what Aaron said.

              • Gosman

                None of those objections are specific to GMO’s nor are they necessary a problem with GMO’s. They MAY be an issue in some cases but they also MAY NOT be. You need to be clear what you object to because it doesn’t look like it is GMO’s.

                • All those things come with the introduction GMO’s into NZ.
                  And yes, some of them are remarkably similar to the outcomes of introduced species (because GMO’s are by definition a new introduced species).
                  Doesn’t make the affect any less.

                  I also think that GMO technology is important. And will certainly be useful for terraforming planets and space travel.

                  But for use here, now. The costs paid by those who don’t own the forests will be far too high.

                  This would also be the final nail in New Zealand’s Clean Green brand.
                  Negative effects would be felt by all exporters/ tourism operators / agribusiness etc. who currently profit from this competitive advantage.

        • lprent

          You seem to be relying on the fear of the unknown

          Oh FFS. You really are an ignorant idiot. The unknown is what is called “risk”. A healthy fear of risk is usually a damn good idea. A lack of sensitivity to risk is something that routinely causes bankruptcies and death.

          In the case of GE, regardless of technique used, they have the approximate accuracy of firing birdshot a shotgun from some distance and trying to get a pellet in small target. However they also hit outside the target areas, much of which they don’t know the macro scale effects of. So they test at the macro levels. The only thing that makes it moderately useful is that they can read the genes via transcription if they hit their intended bullseye. So they test a lot. Fortunately most deadly code changes are only deadly to the organism, so selective breeding gets rid of the defects.

          But each release of a GMO is a risk of an unknown type and level. The only real way to find out what may cause problems is to try it out in ‘wild’. That carries a potential cost and a risk. The problem is that not that many GMO’s have advantages that outweigh the possible risks. Some do.

          But to suggest that one shouldn’t be aware of and fear the risk just identifies you as the type of fuckwit who’d drive a car down a crowded road without brakes. A danger to everyone around you.

        • Brigid

          Exactly my point; you trust the Science (why the capital?) on the issue. I guess this means you agree with something that someone (who says they’re a scientist) has written, that declares what you want to believe so you don’t have to go to the trouble of finding out exactly what genetic engineering is.
          Because, well, cognitive dissonance is a bitch.

          You are dead right I am fearful of the unknown! So should you be.

  7. Jenny Kirk 7

    This post is about what the Ministry of Primary Industries is trying to do to get GMO-trees into NZ forests. Not about corrupt govt agencies, Gosman. You’re just trying to side-track this issue. Get off it !

  8. Robert Guyton 8

    EPA, Gos?
    Does the name “Freeth” ring any bells?

  9. “Permitted activity”, that’s what it’ll be. No ability for a council (you know, Gos, those democratically-elected representatives of the people of each region) to decide yes or no to GMO trees. GE-free status of your region? Gone, in one fell swoop. What influence can other industries that trade of their ‘clean, green, ge-free countryside’ have then? None. Gos will try to argue that ‘the trees are safe’, but that’s a red- herring. It’s the sudden and irreversible lost of the genetically-engineered organism-free status that is the issue here. Sneaking it in through the back-door of plantation forestry? Make up your own mind on the ethics of that.

  10. Robert Guyton 11

    Genetically-engineered pasture-grasses next. Federated Farmers have been signally this, softening up the public for some time now. Ready to roll ’em out, I reckon. Fed’s president Dr William Rolleston also used his speaking platform at the Local Govt NZ conference to attack the Northland council that declared themselves opposed to the use of GMOs in their patch. The Feds took that council to court, the judge ruled in favour of the council so now MPI is seeking to over-rule that judicial decision by disqualifying all councils from deciding on the use of GMOs. This is the kind of dictatorial business that Gos champions. He doesn’t impress.

    • Aaron 11.1

      That would destroy our dairy industry overnight!

      This is where the science becomes irrelevant. If consumers in our overseas markets suspect there are GMO’s in our produce they will stop buying it. This has already happened so many times around the world I can’t believe Federate Farmers aren’t aware of it.

      At one point the US was so desperate to get rid of some of it’s GM grains that they tried to give it to starving African nations in the form of aid – but their offer was refused. They literally couldn’t give it away!

      Never mind the TPPA, destroying our dairy industry by accepting GMO would be a bigger catatrophe.

      • Gosman 11.1.1

        Consumers in overseas markets (probably most of our overseas markets) already purchase products that consume GMO’s. Why would they ditch NZ products for the same reason? It isn’t as if we make a big selling point of it.

        • Aaron

          I’ve just given you an example of consumers refusing to eat GMOs and there are many more out there including entire supermarket buying groups in the UK.

          In fact this has been an established fact for over a decade: In 2006 European importers stopped importing Thai Papaya because of reports of GM contamination coming out of Thailand. They didn’t wait to confirm it or test it, they just stopped it overnight.

          Also around that time a New Zealand bread dough manufacturer had it’s dough rejected by a Japanese pizza company because it tested positive for GMOs. Fortunately for the company, Sunrise Coast, they were able to clean up their act and continue trading but it cost them $500,000.

          You’re a fool Gosman and you have no idea what you are talking about.

          As for you comment that our country being GE-free not being a selling point, I can only laugh.

  11. Rosie 12

    One thing that makes me shake my head is that we turn our backs on the economic advantages (as a separate issue from the safety factor) of being a GE Free nation.

    Out here in the Big Blue Pacific, isolated and with good growing conditions we could be supplying Europe with it’s much in demand GE Free food. There’s no hope in hell to work towards that goal when we show that we can’t be trusted by going and planting up GE tree’s.

    Good on those Northland councils and campaingers for protecting your environment up until this point. Looks like your work isn’t over yet, it’s looks like it just got harder………

    Kia Kaha!

  12. Kevin 13

    People talk about G.E like it’s a bad thing when in reality it’s being on for centuries and has saved billions of lives.

    For example without it we wouldn’t have the varieties of dogs we have today.

    Or how about disease-resistance crops?

    • dukeofurl 13.1

      Thats selective breeding not GMO, and yes there can be a lot of problems for the dogs.

      • Gosman 13.1.1

        Selective breeding is GE. It is just a longer term version of it.

        • Aaron

          That’s standard PR spin that has been used for years. Any simpleton knows that a carrot can’t breed with a potato no matter how carefully you select the genes

          • Gosman

            It is what many Scientists think as well. But what would Scientists know about this topic. Or on AGW for that matter 😉

            • Lanthanide

              Don’t feed the troll.

              • Gosman

                If my arguments have no validity and I am trolling then I should be banned. Maybe we could ask a moderator with a scientific background to make a call if I making it up that GMO technology is regarded as safe by the vast majority of the scientific community. If that is deemed to be the case by the moderator with a scientific background I would happily cop a ban for deliberately misinforming you lot.

                [lprent: No significiant problems have so far been detected with GMOs that have been used to date. Which is a pretty standard statement by anyone with a science background. To say they are completely safe would be complete bullshit.

                Of course there is a separate issue of if it is worth using them in the NZ economy at all. What may have some advantages for one part of the economy (eg forestry) may cause big issues for other parts of the economy (eg exported food production, tourism, or whatever). The jury is still out on that, including in the scientific communities. I personally can’t see enough advantages for the whole NZ economy to be worth the cost.

                This is a question of risk, in exactly the same way that the response to AGW is a question of risk. The massive risks and potential costs in AGW demand a completely different response than the minor advantages of GMOs for NZ.

                Which is of course the topic of this post. Which you seem to be avoiding, instead putting up a strawman argument to start flames. Would you like me to rule on that? ]

                • Lanthanide

                  This particular thread (13.1.1 onwards) has you claiming that “many scientists” think selective breeding is genetic engineering, not that it “is regarded as safe by the vast majority of the scientific community”.

                  Obviously selective breeding is on the continuum of interfering with normal biological processes for the benefit of humankind.

                  One specific marker on this continuum is “selective breeding”. Another specific marker on this continuum is “genetic engineering”.

                  Those markers are not the same. Therefore “selective breeding” is not “genetic engineering”, while both are ways that humans interfere with normal biological processes for their own benefit.

                  Some idiots (or people deliberately trying to confuse and mislead others) may refer to interfering with normal biological processes for humankind’s benefit as “genetic engineering”. Those people are idiots, and you’re a troll (at best) for deliberately repeating that line.

                  • Gosman

                    I linked to a survey carried out recently that suggests 88% of Scientists (at least in the US) believe GMO’s are safe. If you dispute this perhaps you can explain why.

                    • Lanthanide

                      See my reply at

                      You obviously have severe reading comprehension difficulties, because you are conflating “is safe” with “has been going on for centuries”.

                    • Gosman

                      Ummm… I never stated the study said GMO’s have been around for centuries and has saved billions of life. My point in posting it was to highlight that there is no major issue with safety of GMO’s amongst the wider scientific community.

                    • Blue Horseshoe

                      Fuck head

                      If they are so bloody safe then why the need for sneaking in Trojan Horse text into legislation

                      Why the fuck you are allowed to continue to post here is a mystery

                • Selective breeding is not and has never been the same as gene splicing

                • Gosman

                  The question for you lprent is what is your understanding of what the wider scientific community thinks about the safety of GMO’s? Do you think consensus is that the science behind them is both sound and safe or is it very much not settled as some here would like us to believe? Because if it is the later I am comfortable copping a ban for deliberately misleading people here.

                  • Aaron

                    There’s a pretty clear line in the research, tests done by labs that work for biotech companies tend to say that GMOs are safe while tests done by independent labs tend to say there is a problem. I think we can all work out why.

                • Gosman

                  No strawman arguments here lprent. The original question was whether decisions around the safety or otherwise of GMO’s should be in the hands of a central body using the best scientific advice possible or be left to non scientifically minded councils to decide. I prefer to base decisions like this on what the best science tells us. How about you?

                  • So, without knowing any context.

                    Is water safe?

                    Or would that depend on if it was handed to you in a small glass, or whether you were held underneath a large body of it?

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    I prefer to base decisions like this on what the best science tells us. How about you?

                    Fuck off.

                    New technologies have fucked up the environment many a time.

                    This is too important a decision to leave to a few “experts.”

                • Aaron

                  I wouldn’t say that there have been no significant problems detected with GMOs to date. Ten years ago Arpad Puztai at the Rowett institute found pre cancerous lesions in mice fed with GMO potatoes. The powers that be didn’t like this and he was fired from his job (after being there for 30 years), his lab was broken into and a campaign to discredit him began. He suffered a heart attack as a result but his research was eventually verified by peer review and he was proven right.

              • Aaron

                You’re right, I normally don’t but Gosman’s use of standard PR attack lines provides a good platform for educating people. Plus, he is so ill informed I can’t resist 🙂

        • Robert Guyton

          Utter nonsense, Gos, and purely diversionary. Your use of that claim exposes your duplicity and purpose here on The Standard.
          Good though, to see the “attack lines” that will be used – thanks for that.

    • Rosemary McDonald 13.2

      Kevin….take some time out and learn the difference between “natural selection”, “selective breeding” and “genetic engineering”.

      Don’t, please, claim that GE has been going “on for centuries and saved billions of lives.”

      Its a dog of an argument.

      And a lie…promulgated by those who would profit from ignorance.

      Please don’t take offence…it is a common error you make, exploited by those who would profit from your lack of education in this field.

      • Gosman 13.2.1

        Apparently 88% of Scientists in the US are ignorant according to your logic. Are these the same Scientists who push AGW?

      • Kevin 13.2.2

        You’re playing with semantics. While natural section may not be genetic engineering , selective breeding certainly is a form of it. It’s just that with modern genetic engineering we can get the results we want a lot faster.

        But the point is G.E is not a bad thing per se, and has saved billions of lives (e.g. diseases resistant crops).

        • Aaron

          Selective breading is a form of genetic engineering but not all forms of genetic engineering are selective breeding. This is obvious because no amount of selection is going to get a carrot gene into a potato.

          GE has been used in medicine – but only to increase production so that the corporates can make more profit. There have been no new medicines.

          There have been concerns that some of these medicines have a detrimental effect on people’s health because (All together now) they’re making novel organisms and can’t predict the outcome of the engineering process!

          • Gosman

            Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks your argument is nonsense.


            • Naturesong

              Thats fine then, GMO’s are welcome, as long as the only GMO’s we use are produced from selective breeding.


              • Kevin

                Fair enough. But the same arguments that people use against GMO produced in the lab can be used against GMO produced from selective breeding.

                • Actually, no. they can’t.

                  Selevtive breeding does not use gene splicing.

                  • Kevin

                    That’s irrelevant. If I’m opposed to a GMO being introduced because I’m scared of what *might* happen what difference does it make to me whether it was modified through selective breeding or gene splicing?

                    • McFlock

                      the extremity of possible change, for a start.

                    • Not opposed to GMO’s on what “might” happen.

                      Am opposied to GMO’s because of what will happen.

                      GMO’s have been around long enough to know that NZ becoming GMO friendly will result in destroying our clean green brand. Worth tens of billions of dollars … every single year.

                      I’m opposed for reasons above as well, but I thought the massive destruction of earning capacity would be one you could identify with.

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  @Kevin….look where selective breeding took this dog breed….

                  The Bulldog’s heavy-set, low-slung body gives it a low center of gravity. His limbs are sturdy, his gait loose-jointed and shuffling. Major health concerns: canine hip dysplasia, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, shoulder luxation, internalized tail Minor concerns: entropion, ectropion, distichiasis, elbow dysplasia, cherry eye, patellar luxation Occasionally seen: urethral prolapse, vaginal hyperplasia Note: Precautions must be taken when anesthetizing a Bulldog. Caesarian deliveries are commonly needed. An experienced Bulldog vet is always your best choice.


                  Think what the fwits who consider this to be the epitome of the breeders art would do with free access to GE.


              • Gosman

                No, because you have no scientific basis to make the distinction. People like Neil DeGrasse Tyson don’t.

                • One is selecting offspring with specific characteristics from a natural process, and then repeating that natural process.

                  The other is gene splicing.

                • Skinny

                  What have you investments in a recently felled forestry block or some land your eagerly awaiting to plant out with mutant ninja pine trees that are fully matured in 5 years? Your quite obsessed today Gosman.

            • Brigid

              Neil deGrasse Tyson is a astrophysicist. He’s also a moron. Why do you accept an astrophysicists opinion on biotechnology?
              Next time you want some carpentry done, ask the plumber how to do it. She/he will know.

  13. Ad 14

    I would urge everyone to have a look at http://www.purehawkesbay.org.nz

    While they are neither for nor against GM, they are a completely market-led expression of the GE free price advantage to their produce.

    They simply want the right to not be contaminated by GE crops within a specific District Plan area, to be able to certify that advantage globally.

    The New Zealand Sustainability Council have supported them, but clearly this government will roll over them and purehawkesbay regardless of what high-end food producers need for their market and their price.

    • Gosman 14.1

      Why should they get to dictate what other can or can’t do on their own property? If they get contaminated they should sue for damages. Trying to stop people doing something on the off chance that it might cause harm should only be done on very rare occassions.

      • Aaron 14.1.1

        If spray crosses a legal boundary, that is accepted as a one off event by organic farmers but if a GMO crosses a boundary that means that the farmer loses their certification. This is the basis by which council’s over the country have regulated against GMOs.

        You’re spreading nonsense Gosman

      • Rosemary McDonald 14.1.2


        “If they get contaminated they should sue for damages.”


        I could, if I felt the likes of you would take any heed, tell you a tale that would show what an ignorant, ill informed fucking statement that is.

        Some of us have had our homes, water supply, food sources contaminated by our neighbours…

        We have approached the appropriate authorities for protection, investigation and enforcement of the so called rules.

        And found ourselves in front of the Court.

        “…on the off chance that it might cause harm…”

        Bugger me dead. What a fool you are.

      • Ad 14.1.3

        Clearly you have no idea of their business.

        Do some homework on their business before commenting further.

  14. Observer (Tokoroa) 15

    I think we forget that the National Party get huge donations from Corporations that ask them to change legislation.

    Yes says National, we will will do anything you want …anytime.

    Normal people know that bio diversity is crucial to our biological existence.

  15. Gosman 16

    Here’s a blog post from a Skeptic website why being anti-GMO is being anti-Science


    • McFlock 16.1

      That post doesn’t say what you said it does (it actually just lists some false tactics used by some GMO opponents), and what you said it does is irrelevant to the current discussion. So your comment conforms to the “duplicity and distraction” tactic described in your link.

      fuck off, gos.

    • Rawsharkosaurus 16.2

      Yes, genetically engineered plants are wonderful, genetically engineered plants are just grand, and nothing could ever go wrong with genetic engineering.

      Dead cows? What dead cows? I don’t know anything about no dead cows!

  16. JanMeyer 17

    So to recap, the “settled science” in relation to climate change is “good” science. But “settled science” in relation to GMO’s is “bad” science. I’m confused!

    • Kevin 17.1

      The difference is that the standard for reasonable doubt, i.e. that GE is safe vs catastrophic AGW is happening, is a lot higher for the former than for the latter. 🙂

    • Gosman 17.2

      It is simple. It is all based on ideology.

      If you are a leftist then you think the big bad corporations are trying to pollute the planet and extract as much fossil fuels from the planet as possible therefore the science around AGW is ‘good’.

      However as a leftist you also think the big bad corporations are trying to develop and market new GMO’s therefore the science around GE is ‘bad’.

      • Aaron 17.2.1

        That’s a straw man argument.

        It’s also obvious that you’re the one operating on ideology – either that or you’re being paid to be here. Maybe you should get a real job.

    • tangled_up 17.3

      Yeah I’d like to point out that not all lefties are into this anti-GE, anti vaccination, anti-fluoridation, anti-science nonsense.

      • Naturesong 17.3.1

        Being informed and aware of risk is not the same as being anti-something.

        I’m anti being held under water for any length of time, but very partial to a glass of water.
        Does that make water bad or good?

        Arguments like “science says it’s safe” really look like the scribblings of a child.

        Vaccinations also carry risks, but in their particular case the benefits far outweight the risks (on both a personal and societal level).
        As does flouridation.
        With GMO the risks currently far outweight any benefit.

  17. Ad 18

    Gosman has generated the most consistent attempt to derail a post I have seen in some time.

    Even where there was clear evidence provided of producer-led demand for GMO free districts, he chose not to answer with anything except smears.

    He is no longer worth responding to.

    • Gosman 18.1

      Why? Is it because I am pointing out the sheer anti-science hysteria around banning GMO’s? Why are you anti-Science?

      • Naturesong 18.1.1

        You’ll note I addressed your science argument here

      • Sable 18.1.2

        Whose science would that be Gosman? The science that shows that GMO is wreaking havoc with natural ecosystems, creating more destructive pests that destroy food crops or how about associated chemicals that have helped kill off over 1 billion Monarch butterflies that pollinate plants not to mention the massive loss of bees in places like California.

        • Naturesong

          To be fair, some of that is due to the management practices that are required for some GMO crops.

          So, it’s not the plant itself that’s the problem, but the sprays they are designed to be used with.

          So as long as a person ignores the context in which the plant is grown / used, an argument can be presented that the plant itself is safe.

      • Ad 18.1.3

        Nope, you are simply anti-business.

        Go into the http://www.purehawkesbay.org.nz website, as I requested you do in the first place, and you will see businesses actually putting their business model on the line.

        No idea what your business is, but they clearly know theirs. You don’t.
        They simply want their spatial regulator to enable them to continue marketing their value-ad products for their business the way they want.

    • McFlock 18.2

      ^^ case in point

      false dichotomy, smears, and ignoring the content of your comment

  18. Sable 19

    This sly government, are paving the way for foreign companies who want to bring GMO filth into New Zealand under the treasonous TPPA.

    In my estimation this is the least honest, least loyal government (even calling them a government is a travesty) in this countries history. Even old Muldoon put New Zealand first in his own narrow way.

    What brand of misfits have were inherited? I would think even traditional right voters would be alienated and disgusted by this bunch.

    • Gosman 19.1

      Do you think traditional right voters are as anti-science as many of the leftists here are then?

      • Robert Guyton 19.1.1

        Gosman is persisting in trying to divert. The issue here is that the Ministry for Primary Industries is proposing to over-ride democratically-elected councils and their constituents and impose GE on them by allowing the plantation forest industry to plant GE trees. This violates the right of people to choose whether or not they have GMOs in their region. The safety or otherwise of those organism,s is not the question here, though Gosman is determined to frame it as though it is – the issue is force, but the National Government, applied to the people in order to establish genetically-engineered crops in New Zealand. Are we being asked? Are we being consulted? Or are we being by-passed on this important decision?
        The answer is obvious. Gosman’s attempts to argue the detail is transparent and should be dismissed as toxic.

        • McFlock

          Indeed. He is anti-democracy…

        • Kevin

          “This violates the right of people to choose whether or not they have GMOs in their region.”

          Where is it stated that people have this right? I’m not questioning whether or not we should have this right, just whether or not we actually have it.

  19. Robert Guyton 20

    Don’t be mislead. The issue is the deceiptful manner in which the National Government, through the Ministry for Primary Industries, is seeking to by-pass the democratic process and introduce GMOs into New Zealand.

    • Jenny Kirk 20.1

      Robert Guyon is correct. Gosman is trying to take your attention away from the real issue : and that is the Govt wants to do whatever it likes re GMOs and this MPI proposal is the first step towards being able to do that.

      There has been very little time allowed for public debate, and submission making.

      The MPI were holding their meetings (with little public notice) in June/July, and the deadline for submissions is in 10 days time. 5pm Tues 11 August 2015.

      People need to get onto getting those submissions in, and objecting to this blatant attempt to take away their democratic rights in local government.

  20. Robert Guyton 21

    The Environment Court judged that regional councils DO have juristiction to exclude or allow GMOs in their regions. The Ministry for Primary Industries is attempting to over-ride that ruling and take the juristiction off the regional councils and thereby off the people who live in those regions (that’s YOU, gentle reader) That’s stealing rights from the people, in my opinion, an attack on democracy and on the environment at the same time.

  21. Observer (Tokoroa) 22

    I think it is a waste of precious time talking about Monarch Butterflies and Bees. John Key’s stalking horses on here don’t have the kind of brain that can cope with the benefits of Nature proofed pollination.

    They avoided education when young – and are making stuff up in their old age. Time wasters.

  22. Jenny Kirk 23

    For anyone wanting to make submissions, the link below is to the MPI Consultation Document,

    Below that is the actual Clause 6.4 on page 43 which states MPI will be able to over-ride local authorities’ district plan and long term plan regulations .

    Clause 5.2 gives the details of how local authorities have to change their current plans to allow this to happen.


    6.4 Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996

    Genetically modified organisms are regulated under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996.

    To avoid duplication, the proposed NES-PF includes a provision permitting afforestation using genetically modified tree stock where it has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996.

    5.2 What the changes will mean for existing plans

    An NES-PF would replace existing district and regional plan rules for plantation forestry activities on the date of commencement of the NES-PF.12

    Where inconsistencies between existing plans and the NES-PF rules exist, NES-PF rules would supersede relevant existing plan rules.

    Councils would be required to adjust their plans to reflect NES-PF rules as soon as practical, which may be at the time of an expected plan change.

  23. ReDBaronCV 25

    Since they can’t get the RMA changed openly the NActs are going to undermine it at every opportunity – this will be one of many devious attacks.

    They are also trying to give lines companies permission to lay lines etc without having to get landowner permission or a consent – mean’t to be for difficult cases. Some how I don’t think so – Chorus is going ” we’d have to get permission from everyone of 300 landowners to lay cable here ” with the implication that ” whoopee now they won’t have to.”
    And what’s the betting it’s not just confined to lines – expansive wording could make it possible to trench up your land to lay just about anything- oil pipelines anyone??

  24. Sorry guys there is no scientific consensus for GMO safety.


    Possibly claims for consensus on GMO safety are put forward by mainly industry paid scientists with conflicts of interest. I would be interested to see the CV’s – because scientists who claim there is no scientific consensus work in a broad area of science including health, social and environmental policy and as such are concerned with far ranging outcomes beyond industry concern.

    FSANZ, who traditionally approves GMOs in NZ, don’t do their own science – they accept studies provided the developer – the product is under the developers proprietary control – likely zero published scientific studies are provided in the literature provided for risk assessment

    Unfortunately GMO approvals only use ‘available science’ – science is not specific to that product at time its approved – we can wait years to determine whether decisions correct meanwhile approved for release in that time.

    There is significant risk in that alone.

    Unfortunately the NES approval plucks any (which isn’t really happening anyway) guardianship from FSANZ and just rubber stamps and forces GMO trees through – it’s the same tactic that has been applied I believe in Brazil and the USA.

    Can we check out who is providing the science to say GMO trees are safe? How that process is working? Are we seeing a broad ranging discussion beyond the narrow confines of forestry? No. The NES is simply railroading legislation through. Very unscientific.

    It makes no allowance for future risk and completely dismisses any use of the precautionary principle.

    Local bodies need to be able to make the call as to whether GMOs are used in their own regions – particularly when outcomes are unknown and when consumer demand for non-GMO product is growing.

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