Previously known as Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics PSRGNZ - Charitable Trust
As required under the new 2005 Charities Act, PSGR has reregistered as a charitable trust.

FEDERATED FARMERS OF NEW ZEALAND

WELLINGTON

gen-i House

Level 6, 154 Featherston Street

PO Box 715,

Wellington 6140 New Zealand

T +64 4 473 7269

F +64 4 473 1081

 

7 March 2013

 

Thank you for your letter regarding technology developments. Federated Farmers is always keen to stay up to date with the latest scientific developments which may affect agriculture and we appreciate the time you have taken to state your point of view.

 

Federated Farmers' GM policy was written in the late 1990s, before the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification and the formation of the Life Sciences Network. Federated Farmers was instrumental in the formation of, and was a founding member of, the Life Sciences Network where we joined other organisations from science and industry who believe that our regulation should be based on sound science. As Dr Rolleston articulated this is not a pro- or anti- GM stance.

The Royal Commission on Genetic Modification said that we should proceed with caution on a case by case basis. Federated Farmer's policy supports the case by case assessment and recognises that "gene technology has the potential to benefit New Zealand producers, providing appropriate controls exist." As with the Royal Commission we support the regulatory framework - that is the central decision making process which currently exists. Federated Farmers made a number of submissions to local government who were considering local regulation of geneticc modification around the time of the Royal Commission.

Federated Farmers also endorses the individual farmers' right to determine what technologies are used in their production systems providing appropriate controls exist. Your comment that "in 2011 88% of corn and 94% of soybeans produced in the US were transgenic" certainly highlights that where farmers have the choice GM crops are a very popular option.

Finally you may want to direct your group to two publications from the European Commission. Your letter did not mention them so I assume you have not read them. They are:

EC Sponsored Research on Safety of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) (1985-2000) http://ec.europa.eu/research/quality-of-life/Rmo/

This reports states:

"The results of the research and growing practical experience, feeding into regulatory and risk management policies, have enabled these to be regularly adapted to facilitate safe innovation, thus contributing to the excellent safety record to date, and providing a basis for continuing public confidence in the technology and its products." (Introduction by Philippe Busquin, EU Research Commissioner (1999-2004)

A Decade of EU Funded GMO Research (2001-2010) http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/pdf/a_decade_of_eu-funded_gmo_research.pdf. This report states:

"The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not perse more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies." (page 16)

Any person wishing to release a GMO into the New Zealand environment will have to apply to the EPA. Where appropriate I suggest you present any scientific data at that time which is relevant to any application. I am sure that if your arguments are credible they will be appropriately considered as the agency weighs up the risks and benefits of an application.

 

Regards

 SIGNED

Bruce Wills President