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Whats the deal with Genetic Modification being a 'nasty' in New Zealand?

The MIndful Money consumer surveys which identify 'nasties' - consistently shows that Kiwi's are resistant to investing in GMO's, or Genetically Modified and Genetically Edited organisms. 

But why? 

There has been quite a bit of commentary recently about how old the New Zealand genetic modification regulations are - (A 1996 Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act, and a quick google brings up a 2004 Ministry for the Environment Paper in the first entries).   This is in response to a recommendation by the Productivity Commission to review genetic modification regulations, which the government agreed with.

The world has changed a lot since the legislation was developed and it was last reviewed in 2001 and the topic can elicit strong opinions.  These opinions range from the negative reactions about so-called 'Frankenfood' through to the other end of the spectrum of approval of the ways that GMO can make food more sustainable, available and viable. 

Layered on these opinions are concerns about whether New Zealand's legislation is inhibiting our growth in critical technology and the NZ Brand and reputation (either negatively or positively).

The legislation defines GM organisms as: 'Those that contain or are derived from genetic material that has been modified in vitro (in a test tube or petri dish).

The technology used has developed, evolved, changed and is arguably safer. It is possible that our laws are preventing our business and farming sectors from competing effectively internationally, and from making significant changes to achieve our climate change goals (adaptations to crops to reduce methane output may require genetic modifications that aren't legal in this country).

The Productivity Commission says that we are missing out on technologies aimed at improving plants that are more drought and disease resistance, and meat that has increased meat yield and disease resistance.

This topic is likely to have a lot of discussion, and the arguments will be interesting to watch, particularly from an ethical investing perspective. At present, the Mindful Money analysis indicates that Moneyworks clients aren't investing in producers of Genetically Modified Organisms, but it is important that we understand the pro's and con's of the debate, and how technology is changing.

For a brilliant primer and introduction listen to the podcast by The Detail on 10th May 2022 'Is it time to reconsider the rules on GMO's' - here is a link https://www.rnz.co.nz/programm...






 

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