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Genetic technologies are a must for NZ to remain relevant and competitive

In this issue

  • Insights from the Executive Director 
  • BioTechNZ news and highlights
    • Synthetic Biology
    • Climate Change/Environmental Sustainability
  • What’s happening around the country and across the ditch?

Insights from the Executive Director

It was a big month for biotech. Firstly, BioTechNZ was in the media, highlighting that the New Zealand public appeared to have no issues with GMO ingredients on our supermarket shelves. This media stemmed from the Government response to the Productivity Commission’s report. 

New Zealand firms: Reaching for the frontier, Productivity Commission Report, April 2021
“R10.4 The Government should undertake a full review of the regulation of genetic modification (GM), to ensure it is fit for purpose and supports domestic innovation.”

Government response to the Productivity Commission’s Frontier Firms inquiry, March 2022
“Government has long considered that the New Zealand brand and value is best met by maintaining a ‘proceed with caution’ approach. However, we consider it timely to start informed conversations around New Zealand’s use of GM technologies.”

See what we have been saying in the media:

BioTechNZ news and highlights
Synthetic Biology 

Synthetic biology is the rapid development of functional DNA-encoded biological components and systems through the application of engineering principles and genetic technologies. Australia’s Synthetic Biology Roadmap, published in August 2021, identified that synthetic biology could create a $700 billion global opportunity by 2040. 

The National Synthetic Biology Roadmap: Identifying commercial and economic opportunities for Australia, is well placed to play a significant role in the field, but as this Roadmap makes clear, good things don’t simply land on your plate. We need to choose where to focus our efforts, by playing strategically to our strengths and our national priorities.  

In New Zealand, we have a number of companies doing some great work, and Humble Bee bioplastic pioneer Veronica Harwood-Stevenson has signed a deal with a US company to perfect the recipe for making the plastic with GM microbes.  Is this the technology to win Kiwis over to genetic engineering? 

Imagine New Zealand becoming a similar global hub for a new high-value biomanufacturing sector – for the circular bioeconomy. This shift will give us the power to not only reduce waste, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions but also to grow prosperity, jobs, and resilience.

Climate Change/Environmental Sustainability

World Economic Forum

Iceland, Denmark and the Netherland are the countries most prepared for a low-carbon future, according to a new report. The Green Future Index is a ranking of 76 economies published by MIT Technology Review Insights, the custom publishing division of the bimonthly magazine at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. New Zealand’s rank has fallen from eighth in 2021 to 39th in 2022.  

New Zealand’s first emissions reduction plan released end May 2022

The first emissions reduction plan will set the direction for climate action for the next 15 years. It will also set us on a pathway to meeting our 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and biogenic methane targets.

It will do this by implementing policies and strategies for specific sectors, including:

  • transport
  • energy
  • waste and f-gases
  • building and construction
  • agriculture and forestry

Callaghan Innovation new funds and investment opportunity 

There is an increasing interest in the role of tech in climate change and environmental sustainability. Callaghan Innovation recently reported a major increase in new funds and investment opportunities for cleantech innovators and an increasing number of developments in the New Zealand ecosystem.

NZTech Board establishing a new Sustainability Sub-Board

NZTech’s Board has launched a new Sustainability Sub-Board which will hold its first meeting this week to develop direction for the NZTech Group’s approach to sustainability. What are we doing as an organisation, and what can we do to help ensure the tech ecosystem plays its part in creating a more sustainable and prosperous future for New Zealand? 

 What’s happening around the country and across the ditch?

Thanks to all our biotechers who turned up to Biotech and Beers across New Zealand. I look forward to seeing you all for the next one on 5 May. 

Date:  5 May 
Time: 5:30pm
Location: Ombrellos Kitchen and Bar

Date:  5 May
Time: 5:30pm
Location: The Laboratory Brew Pub & Kitchen

Date:  5 May
Time: 5:30pm
Location: Fortune Favours Beer

Date:  5 May
Time: 5:30pm
Location: The Lula Inn (

2022 BIO International Convention 
June 13-16, 2022, San Diego, California. 
This year BIO is pleased to extend an early discount on 2022 BIO International Convention registrations to BioTechNZ members. Please contact me for discount details.

BioTechNZ members please send your news to us so we can share your success stories with the biotech community.

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.