[1 July/NZ Herald]

The Prime Minister’s former science advisor, Peter Gluckman, said it was time for New Zealand to restart the debate on genetic modification. The Government emphasised there were no plans to change New Zealand’s cautious approach to genetic modification, and changes would be years away. Sir Peter added the science had shown genetic modification was safe and the science was as settled as it would be. It had been nearly 20 years since genetic engineering was last debated at a national level in New Zealand. It had been used in research and some medicines, but no fresh produce had been made using genetic techniques. Mr Gluckman listed areas where genetic modification could be used such as biosecurity. He noted we were fundamentally a biologically based economy. Environment Minister, David Parker, said there were no plans to change the existing regime which took a precautionary approach.