Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Snivelling MAF-Biosecurity Toadies Let Arrogant CRI Blunderers off the Hook Again!!

The defiant attitude of managers at various Crown Research Institutes that have been responsible for breaches of biosecurity conditions imposed in accordance with Acts of Parliament beggars belief.

They seem to believe that it is ok to ignore containment conditions if they consider them to be inconvenient or entailing costs on the basis of "we know best". If we all flouted the Laws of the Land because we judged ourselves to be above them on account of our superior intelligence, my what a sorry state we'd be in!

Perhaps if investigation and prosecution of the offenders was made a police matter rather than being left to ERMA and MAF-Biosecurity, both of whom seem overly familiar with the genetic science fraternity, we would see a sharpening of their sense of probity.

To say the Aridopsis seeds were "inaccurately identified as not-GE on import documents" verges on an abuse of language. "Falsely declared" would be less mealy-mouthed. Presumably the said documents had a signature- is signing a false declaration on import documents no longer an offence?

For Plant and Food’s chief executive to say that GM research helps to support industries worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year to the economy is stretching credulity beyond belief. GM plant science has failed to live up to expectations and has been dogged by a litany of horrors including reduced yields, crop failures, toxicity, pesticide resistant superweeds and pest tolerance. Meanwhile New Zealand's reputation for producing wholesome, natural foodstuffs is put at risk from the spectre of GM releases.

Rather than a simple "cut and paste" operation, insertion of genes into organisms has proved to be like a many sided Rubik's Cube, entailing multiple consequences, most of them adverse, which none of the pioneers could have forseen. None of the old hands who have dedicated lifelong careers in search of this particular Holy Grail are prepared to say "sorry, we were wrong". Like High Priests of some arcane religion or alchemists of old they continue to draw in accolytes to their futile search, thereby wasting talented young scientists efforts in pursuit of this perversion. One suspects that for many, the quest has become more important than the goal.

Many years ago, New Zealand had a global reputation in the field of plant breeding that was built on painstaking work, meticulous testing and record-keeping. Many of the grasses, clovers and forage plants bred fifty and sixty years ago are still in use or are the parent plants of todays varieties. This type of plant breeding may not be a "sexy" as the high tech GM approach, but it is proven to give better, safer results and the vast majority of the world's plant varieties are produced this way.