Agribusiness: It’s time for a fresh debate on GMOs

“New Zealanders should be presented with all the facts to enable robust discussion on the use of gene editing technologies.”  Will Barker

New Zealand urgently needs to have an informed discussion on new science technologies — and genetically modified organisms (GMO) and advanced gene editing technology are part of that discussion.

Colourful rhetoric about keeping New Zealand GMO-free should be balanced with what is happening globally and the advances in science since New Zealand introduced the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) in 1996.

If New Zealand doesn’t use science-based decision-making about adopting these advanced techniques, there will be economic ramifications.

Treasury secretary Gabriel Makhlouf made a pro-innovation speech about advanced gene editing technologies at last month’s Fieldays He pointed out that New Zealand’s current system denied any choice, whereas its competitors had that choice. He also challenged New Zealand’s approach to risk.

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