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The precautionary principle

The Precautionary Principle, there are many definitions, but the most common expression today claims that a practice, substance or technology must be banned or prohibited if it cannot be proven (with certainty) to be safe. Rather than trying to reduce exposure to risks or solve problems with innovative technologies, precaution merely stops or restricts anything that cannot be proven to be safe. Precaution demands zero risk even around new technologies.

An example, a busy intersection where there have been a number of accidents. You don’t close the street or prevent pedestrian access; you apply risk reduction measures eg. traffic lights, speed bumps, zebra crossings, pedestrian barriers… if you had sufficient budget, you could build bridges, walkways, extra lanes or one-way systems.

In an unprecedented move, a group of German Green MPs, including one EU lawmaker, have backed the use of gene editing technologies in a new paper, diverging from the party’s general position and saying genetic engineering could play a key role in improving sustainability.

The paper draws parallels between applications of gene-editing technology in the health sector, saying that the use of this technology in this way demonstrates that there is “no such thing as good or bad genetic engineering,” but that society should instead have the opportunity to “discuss and and define areas of applications on risk and opportunity”.

When it comes to gene technologies will New Zealand be grown up enough to have the conversation Sir Peter Gluckman quotes in the published think tank documents; The Future of Food, and Primary Sector, and The Environment is Now.

BioTech Executive Council

Online elections for our BioTechNZ Executive Council are now taking place, voting is only open to the Primary Contacts of BioTechNZ members. After the online elections the new Council will be announced at our Annual Meeting on Tuesday 21 July. Please register if you want to attend the Annual Meeting – this is open to all BioTechNZ members.

Targeted Sector Support in the Budget 2020-Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP)

To help drive the economic recovery and build future resilience, the Government is investing $41.4 million over three years into initiatives in the construction, digital and agritech sectors. 

Investing $11.4 million to grow the agritech sector and improve environmental outcomes while boosting productivity in the primary sector. Check out The Growing Innovative Industries in New Zealand, Towards an Industry Transformation Plan, note biotechnology is key on-farm and we need to ensure that biotech companies are across the initiatives. One key element of the Agritech ITP is the ongoing development of the New Zealand Agritech Story. To help gain a better understanding of how the sector will manage in the current environment, AgriTech are hosting New Zealand Agritech Story workshops this month. The workshops will be held on 15 July in Auckland16 July in Hamilton and 21 July in Lincoln. It’s critical that the sector is provided with the collateral and assets it needs to be able to navigate the emerging ‘new normal’. Please reserve your free seat at these workshops because your input is highly valued.

New Zealand vaccine manufacturers to locally produce
COVID-19 vaccines

The team at Avalia Immunotherapies are preparing a white paper funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to identify New Zealand manufacturers that have the capability and infrastructure, or the ability to adapt their existing manufacturing processes to produce and /or analyse human vaccines for COVID-19. Vaccine types include inactivated or live-attenuated virus, viral vector-based, recombinant protein sub-unit, synthetic and nucleic acid-based (i.e. RNA/DNA). Please email to discuss your business’ inclusion.

MedCan Summit 2020 9 -10 November

The MedCan team is fully focused on the MedCan 2020 Summit now the new dates have been announced for 9-10 November 2020. There will be minor changes to the agenda to ensure that new content, relevant to the audience, is presented on the two days. Limited places are still available.

MedCan Webinars

These webinars are now open to everyone, not just Medcan delegates so keep an eye on the website and your inbox for the next one coming up this month.

Good Day BIO, USA

Keep up to date with BIO news. Climate change is a threat to agriculture and society however, innovative, biology-based tools will enable agriculture to adapt and be part of the solution. BIO is a strong supporter of the Growing Climate Solutions Act for the significant positive impact the legislation will have for American farmers, sustainable fuel producers, and biobased manufacturers. Here is their full statement.

Plus find out what our Australian counterparts are up to in finding COVID treatments and vaccines. Subscribe to Good Day BIO. Have feedback or feature suggestions? Click here.

BIO Digital, BIO USA

BIO USA ran their conference fully online, if you didn’t get a chance during the week, catch up on the incredible content available on-demand in the BIO Digital Education Portal. This will be available until July 11, there’s still time to register and watch on-demand.

Stay safe,

Zahra Champion
Executive Director

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BioTechNZ Our aim is to raise awareness and increase the understanding to enable our nation to embrace the best opportunities biotech offers to us daily, helping us live better, healthier and more productive lives.