bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Monday, May 17, 2004

Kiwi beekeepers' GM questionnaire

This Friday is the closing date for New Zealand beekeepers to complete a questionnaire [pdf file] about the usefulness of a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to tell them about the location of Genetically Modified (GM) crops should they ever be introduced into the country.

It would raise a few international eyebrows if GM crops were ever introduced into New Zealand bearing in mind the country's stringent bio-import controls, but:
The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) is responsible for assessing any application to import, develop, field-test in containment or release any new organism, including GM organisms. The Government recently amended the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act to include a new type of approval called conditional release. A conditional release approval allows ERMA to set controls on the release of a new organism in order to manage any potential risks. Location controls could be used by ERMA to manage certain risks. For example in the case of flowering plants, location controls may limit where certain plants can be grown and may require that information is made available on where and when plants are being grown. This type of information could be captured in a GIS-based register for use by beekeepers.
Elsewhere in the document ERMA says that is already aware of beekeepers’ general concerns regarding GM and that these will also form a part of its assessment. The results are expected to be reported to the Government in October 2004.

Any Kiwi beekeeper like to give further background on this?


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