There’s a major roadblock within the Beehive over the role genetic engineering (GE) could play in a predator-free New Zealand by 2050.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has stopped any and all work being done to use GE technology, despite official advice suggesting it could be used to help rid New Zealand of predators.
This is revealing. The Greens care more about opposing science than they do about making New Zealand predator free.
Newshub’s also obtained a number of emails written by the minister that reveal her personal position on the technology.
In one email, she wrote: “Please be assured that the department is clear about my expectations regarding genetic technologies. It has informed me that there is no mammalian gene drive technology research currently occurring in New Zealand.
“I have also required Predator Free 2050 Ltd to carry out appropriate due diligence on any co-funded projects before agreeing on any contracts, and have explicitly required them not to be involved in any research with genetically modified organisms and technologies such as CRISPR or gene editing.”
In another email, the minister made a similar comment: “I have been clear about my expectations regarding such technologies.”
So the Minister is personally intervening to ban research that could help NZ become predator free. This shows you how much they really care about the environment.
The Greens cry out on climate change that the science is settled. But they ignore the science is also settled on GE. Sir Peter Gluckman was reported last year as saying:
Marking the end of his nine-year stint as chief science adviser, Sir Peter said the science had shown genetic modification was safe.
“The science is as settled as it will be,” Sir Peter told TVNZ’s Q + A today.
“That is, it’s safe, that there are no significant ecological or health concerns associated with the use of advanced genetic technologies.”
And the Royal Society:
Professor Barry Scott, co-chair of the Royal Society expert panel on GE, says there’s a lot of “scaremongery” about genetic modification and many haven’t changed their opinions since the early 2000s. He told The Project GE has huge potential to cure illnesses such as bone marrow cancer, as well as conservation of the environment. GE could even be used to remove allergens from food, making it safer for people with intolerances.
Professor Scott doesn’t think Kiwis should be concerned about the potential dangers of GE.
“There’s millions of hectares of crops being grown around the world for 20-plus years now with no adverse effects.”
So again the Greens are campaigning against science, even though GE could be used to protect NZ’s native birds from predators.
Labour MP Trevor Mallard makes clear he thinks the Government is wrong on this issue.