National picks a fight over GE

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, June 11th, 2023 - 19 comments
Categories: Christopher Luxon, climate change, Environment, farming, national, science - Tags:

National continues to appease Federated Farmers and has just announced a policy of easing up of restrictions and safeguards on Genetic Engineering.

Clearly Act’s foray into the Farming community has spooked National and it continues to appease Federated Farmers by fulfilling its wishes.

Luxon has claimed that GE crops could assist in the fight against climate change.  This is one particular aspect that may be superficially attractive but you have to wonder about the sincerity of its commitment.

As pointed out on Q&A National plans to:

  • Allow cities to sprawl
  • Scrap the biggest mass transport project in the country’s history
  •  Scrap the ban on oil and gas exploration
  • Let the largest emitting sector set its own emissions targets
  • Scrap the electric car subsidy

The policy will clearly invoke a response from the Greens.  I expect that there will be no discussion about the possibility of a Greens National coalition this year.

19 comments on “National picks a fight over GE ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    He was recycling "Sledge Hammer: Trust me – I know what I'm doing!" Probably got addicted to the 1986 tv show as a kid. Mimetics works via repetition of complex memes and that one sure as hell got plenty of replications into the media back then. Hard-wired the thinking of the domed one for life…

    Mickey's pentad of bullet points contains a flaw: point #4 is invalid. I heard him refute Jack Tame several times, to the effect that Nat policy is liaison with industry. Target-setting would be the cabinet decision outcome of such talkfests.

    As regards the Greens, the trend towards collective idiocy may yet be terminated. We await any evidence of a u-turn.

    The GE policy-switch seems timely – with an obvious caveat that blind faith in regulators is moronic. The GFC taught even slow-learner neoliberals that regulator-capture determines economic & political outcomes. Only a fool would assume that either National or Labour are capable of designing optimal incentive-structure into any regulating organization (to ensure intelligent decision-making could prevail). The trend towards clever tech is relentless, so GE will happen on the global stage regardless of Luddites. Only compelling evidence of consequent harm would stop that.

  2. Jack 2

    Excellent news. The opportunities to flight climate with this policy are significant.

  3. tWiggle 3

    The blanket no GMO NZ brand helps our produce get into the EU. Otherwise NZ ag-hort sector will have to introduce a labelling validation scheme for non-GMO producers. We produce a lot of seed off-season for Europe which will be at risk. The no-GMO brand also helps lift the quality niche for NZ products in other markets.

    Can't think of any immediate benefit to introducing GMO crops and animals. Any ideas other than the ecologically-harmful glyphosate resistant crops?

    • Dennis Frank 3.1

      Yeah, the ole cost/benefit ratio is likely to drive pragmatic evaluation toward consensus. I shared the historical paranoia around the frankenstein food scenario but we've moved on since. Google produced this:

      "researchers have been able to create a modified form of African corn that contains:

      • 2 times as much folate when compared to traditional crops
      • 6 times as much vitamin C when compared to traditional crops
      • 169 times more beta-carotene than traditional crops

      Poor farmers will see such examples as a more profitable way ahead. For Aoteraroa, the cost/benefit thing will hinge on prospective improvements for our bioregions. If Fed Farmers fails to provide right-wing activists with specific examples likely to impress voters, it'll just be another ideological scam to many…

  4. Incognito 4

    National should Barbara Kuriger in charge of GE, as she has a good knowledge of and working relationship with MPI. \sarc

  5. Mike the Lefty 5

    The anti-vaxers, conspiracy theorists and plain nutters should throw up their hands in horror of the prospect of a NACT government allowing more GE modification. After all, isn't GE just the perfect way to insert into your body the nano probes that these people fear?

    I suppose on second thought it will all wash past them.

    No brain, no pain.

    • tWiggle 5.1

      The CRIs Plant&Food, AgResearch and Scion have enormous capability in plant and animal breeding to give NZ a competitive edge. Because that breeding expertise is underpinned by a lot of genetic engineering techniques, it would be relatively easy, with a lagtime of 3-4 years, to produce NZ-made GMOs that we control and licence, suitable for our production systems.

      What Luxon wants, I suspect, is merely to open NZ to big farma seed and stock companies who have been lobbying him. As farmers in Third World countries have found out, it is not necessarily the best approach.

  6. tsmithfield 6

    Surely Labour and The Greens should be leading the way on this GE stuff, rather than National. The potential to solve world hunger and reduce climate damage is huge.

    Imagine that we can produce crops that need much less fertilizer and water to feed people in drought-ridden countries.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    Well the Natzos are certainly picking a fight with younger people! Plant based is not the future–it is now. Sheep shaggers days are numbered if they refuse to change.

  8. Patricia Bremner 8

    This isn't a political pendulum swing, this is a jackhammer smashing life.

    We all know how these "Crops" are grown elsewhere.

    Glyphosate spray "to kill everything"

    then "plough" the micro berm that is left

    then sow the "Genetically Engineered seed."

    This is opposite of nature. A mono crop instead of a flourishing ecosystem.

    So all the "extras' still don't compensate for creating a small desert to grow the crop.

    The tonnes of soil floating in the air, the lack of the required life cycle for other species, putting all eggs into one basket.

    This is the opposite of "Regeneration" and would be a threat to so many organic producers and is a clear demarcation between those who believe in Nature and those who would use it and AI to take control. Our seed or none.

    I do believe there have been useful advances, but blanket use is like AI, it comes with huge questions for which we don't yet have answers.

    At last we are “Seeing” behind the bland persona.

  9. Incognito 9

    The interview on GE (and other things) with Chris Luxon by Jack Tame on Q+A was an absolute clusterfuck (on behalf of Luxon – Tame did a great job).

    Luxon could not admit that there are any risks associated with GE, at all.



    [approx. first 9 min then moving the farming sector setting its own emission limits/reductions]

    • bwaghorn 9.1

      Saw luxon on 3 news tonight the only nodding heads he could must in support where collins and uffendail, he can't be to popular in the nats if that's who he's carting around

      • Incognito 9.1.1

        A link would be nice.

        National and Nat voters should not just think about winning the election but also how their leader would perform in coalition with ACT. ACT’s leader, David Seymour, outshines & outperforms Luxon at every opportunity, which admittedly is not hard. What would that look like when they’re in Government together. I can tell you: it would be a Coalition of Chaos.

        • bwaghorn 9.1.1.1

          Not sure how to find tv stuff and how to link small bits, but will try harder sir.

  10. SPC 10

    https://images.indianexpress.com/2023/06/Untitled-design-35-2.jpg

    National would allow this to be a legal catch, be wary.

    A clean green reputation is something to treasure on this side of the Tasman.

    The indigenous people must be consulted on the issue as it impacts on their taonga.

    [image resized – Incognito]

  11. Mac1 11

    Can I trust Christopher Luxon's assurances that there will be sufficient supervision of the genetically modified changes he is proposing.

    First, we don't yet know the full detail.

    Second, I don't trust government to provide enough monitoring of tax evasion when a minimum $1.5 billion goes uncollected each year,

    Third, I don't trust local authorities if water quality is a bench mark. For that matter I wouldn't trust National on that measure, either.

    Who sets the standard of regulatory supervision for fire safety as in the recent fire in the Wellington lodging house; in the deposition of slash on our beaches and rivers; on the silting of the Sounds sea floor; on the ecological safety of our beaches in the face of wheeled traffic; on the purity of our ground and river waters?

    Who can say they'd trust the performance of regulators in the face of insufficient provision of resources, numbers of inspectors, the unwillingness of many to be supervised or regulated, the naked greed of people whose sole concern is for profit?

    Would I trust a National government especially ro do this when they believe in small government, reduction in regulations and tax cuts for the wealthy?

    A party that kneecapped a regulatory authority like Ecan.

    Would I trust Luxon to do this, backed by a caucus, many of whom are rightwing, fundamentalist, business 'friendly', and parties such as ACT, NZF and possibly various minor parties such as the Christian and loony Right parties especially after possible changes to our electoral laws allowing these to come through into our law-making chamber?

    Would I further trust Luxon who has walked back so many statements that were he Spike Milligan he’d be half way up the Liffey in central Dublin by Christmastime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e61uC-5s9VU

  12. That_guy 12

    I’m reliably informed that the Greens are likely to come out with some new policy in this area (I had some limited involvement at an early stage but haven’t been involved for a while).

    What state it will be in, I’m not sure. My opinion has always been that the terms “GE/GMO” are now useless from a regulatory perspective because those terms describe many different methods with quite different risk profiles, and the way risk is assessed is sometimes biologically incoherent. For example: the habit of assessing a new organism on some sliding scale of “natural – modified” (in terms of the number of genetic changes made) and then pretending that the position on the scale is somehow related to risk (it’s not).

    For me the GM issue is about the management and decision-making structures, not the technology, and I see no good reason to put GE in some special category of risk. All technology has risks, and it really isn’t hard to think of some where the risk assessment has been nonexistent (ChatGPT).

    When I was in the Greens these ideas were generally well received. Generally.

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