January 12, 2016
New Zealand farmers welcome Australian Greens' shift on GMOs
The Federated Farmers of New Zealand has welcomed a shift in thinking by the Australian Green Party on its longstanding opposition to genetically modified organisms.
In an interview with ABC radio last week Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale said "the concerns are less around human health and much more around the application of the technology when it comes to giving farmers choice".
In another interview with The Land Di Natale said he did "not have a blanket objection to the use of genetically modified crops" and that "it's a bit simplistic to say GMOs are safe or they're not safe".
Federated Farmers National President Dr William Rolleston said, "This is entirely in line with Federated Farmers' position of giving farmers choice about what and how they farm, and assessing the benefits and risks of genetically modified organisms on a case-by-case basis".
Rolleston described the Australian Greens' open-minded approach to a key issue for the agricultural sector as "refreshing" and urged the New Zealand Green Party to also review its policy on genetic modification."
Rolleston said genetic modification has been used extensively around the world, to the benefit of farmers and the environment, without any incident of harm attributable to the GM aspects of the application.
"Although no crops using GMOs are approved or grown here yet, this vitally important science is being used successfully in New Zealand. GM products such as food enzymes, medicines and animal feed are now commonplace", he said.
"We ask that the Greens open their minds to the agricultural sector also taking advantage of these rapidly evolving technologies," Rolleston added.