GE-Free NZ response to Opportunities Party’s gene editing policy is rejected as “anti-science”

The Opportunities Party has reminded the public of its public policy position on gene editing with a rebuke to GE-Free NZ, accusing it of being anti-science

Australia last month allowed the use of gene editing in cases where no new genetic material is added. The Opportunities Party called for New Zealand to follow Australia’s lead.

GE Free NZ likened the Australian move to the “Wild West” of gene editing, a response which the Opportunities Party regards as hysterical.

Party leader Geoff Simmons says:

“GE Free NZ are scaremongers who don’t or won’t understand the science. Because they don’t understand it, they fear it. New Zealand faces a number of environmental challenges including climate change, kauri dieback and predators like rats, stoats and possums. By the time we work out so-called ‘natural solutions’ to these problems our taonga will be gone and we’ll be over-run with pests.

“Gene editing is very different to old school genetic modification. No new genetic material is added and it has identical outcomes to selective breeding. Do GE Free NZ also oppose selective breeding?”

Innovation expert Anne French helped develop The Opportunities Party’s policy.

She says GE Free NZ have asked for evidence for the party’s stance.

“There is plenty of evidence in our detailed policy document including releases from 129 Nobel Laureates and New Zealand’s own Royal Society.

“In contrast, GE Free NZ have offered up one paper which states exactly the opposite of what they claim. The paper concludes that the process of cell culture (not gene editing) causes mutations – and cell culture is completely unregulated in New Zealand. Our policy requires researchers to prove that no other changes were made in the organism. GE Free NZ choose to fear-monger over engaging in intelligent discussion.”

Geoff Simmons said that rather than being a ‘Wild West’, the Australian proposal is regarded by international experts as a ‘middle ground’ between the laissez faire approach of the United States, Brazil and Argentina; and the strict approach of the European Union.

GE Free NZ’s response to his party’s policy borders was “outright misdirection.”

“We hope there is greater depth of thought behind the stances of the Green Party and Labour Party on this issue, although the Greens seem to be avoiding the discussion.”

The Opportunities Party recognises the need for dialogue among stakeholders, saying we all live here and are invested in the best outcomes for our country.

Its policy can be found here.  

Source:  The Opportunities Party


Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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