Firstly, I would like to clarify what I meant when I wrote this in last month’s newsletter:
“So, what are we doing, taxing farmers, offsetting our emissions with carbon credits, going electric and growing a billion trees… come on New Zealand, we can do better than that!”
Some people wondered whether I was saying that taxing farmers is a good thing or a bad thing?
What I was meaning was that taxing farmers and offsetting our emissions with carbon credits are not a solution to the problem. CO2 emissions are a bigger issue than just farmers and there needs to be real solutions that tackle all CO2 producers. If we are going to target farmers we need to give them the tools (including biotech) to improve the carbon efficiency of our animal protein production, and upskill other nations to do the same. This article came out the day after my newsletter and is a great example of what I mean about giving New Zealanders the tools to make a difference.
Another trend BioTechNZ is seeing is that environmental groups and individuals are putting pressure on Councils to put controls on genetically engineered plants (GE) and gene-modified animals in their district plans. BioTechNZ believes the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) should be the central agency focused on protecting New Zealand’s environment and the people who live and work in it, not the individual Councils. BioTechNZ has made submissions to:
- Be a party to the appeal by Whangarei District Council and Far North District Council
- Waikato District Plan – GMO Provisions: BioTechNZ opposes the requests to insert policies and rules relating to Genetically Modified Organisms
Changing the HSNO Act
We are also starting to see politicians formulating their policies for the upcoming 2020 elections. National says it would overhaul law governing gene editing, with Simon Bridges and science and innovation spokesperson Parmjeet Parmar announcing their intention, if elected next year, to review the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act.
BioTechNZ will be providing recommendations from its members about the HSNO Act. Please contact me if you have information that can be of help to ensure the right issues are being addressed.
MedCan 2020: 18-19 March 2020, SkyCity, Auckland
Preparations for Medcan 2020 are well underway; you would have seen the announcement of the keynote speakers, programme and that registrations have opened. This event is a great opportunity for the research community and biotech industry to understand the challenges and opportunities of the medicinal cannabis sector.
BIO 2020: 8-11 June 2020, San Diego, California
The New Zealand delegation to BIO 2019 was a huge success as it gave our biotech companies a platform to showcase their capabilities on a scale that can compete with other countries. These delegations do not just happen; it takes resources and finances to deliver these events and we cannot just rely on one agency to provide this. MBIE, Callaghan Innovation, BioTechNZ and NZACRes are in discussion about how we can make it happen for BIO 2020. The goal is to showcase New Zealand’s science, biotech and clinical trials capability under the New Zealand Inc brand.
BioTech NZ is keen to know which companies are interested in having a presence on a New Zealand stand at BIO 2020. There will be a cost for this and the contribution will be calculated based on your activity on the stand.
If you are planning on attending BIO 2020 and you would like to have some involvement on the NZ stand, please let me know. We want to ensure that this event wasn’t just a one off, so if we act collectively, we have a greater chance of success.
News and Events
Biotech drugs for pets is becoming a multi-billion-dollar boost to the veterinary medicines market.
The AI Forum has released their report, Artificial Intelligence for Agriculture in New Zealand which investigates AI’s potential impacts for New Zealand’s place in the global food value chain.
U.S. regulators have allowed genetically modified cotton to be used for human consumption, paving the way for a protein-packed new food source.
More than 150 young Kiwi scientists have sent a letter to the Green Party urging a rethink of its stance on the regulation for genetic modification.
Experts from Havard and MIT have developed new gene editing technology.