The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) has released its Evaluation and Review report on the latest AgResearch application ERMA 200223 despite a formal request to postpone hearings until a decision by the Court of Appeal has been released.
The legal request was made to ERMA on the basis that the current application has the same material flaws as four previous applications that were declared invalid by the High Court, including for having no organism actually identified to a level of detail that would permit risk assessment to be carried out.
�The deliberate omissions and patronising tone of the review is not what the public expect of a regulatory body meant to protect public health and environmental safety. We can have little confidence in a process where the report totally ignores the corner-stone it is set up to evaluate -a specific genetically engineered organism".
The Report has not even considered the record of previous AgResearch GE animal experiments that has led to an unacceptable level of deformities and death, sidestepping the ethical issues that have been of community concern since the Royal Commission on GM recommended not using food animals as bio-reactors.
Lessons from the aftermath of the financial collapse, after product failure, of Scottish company PPL which ran 3000 transgenic sheep in New Zealand are also swept under the carpet. The risks are left to fall directly on the people of New Zealand and no liability for any GMO escape or animal welfare issue is borne by the applicant or partner in this experiment.
After ten years of cruel outcomes in many animals but not a sign of a benefit, AgResearch is still touting this type of enterprise as bringing in millions. The research to date has been a black hole of rhetoric and public-subsidy.
The ERMA report instead signals that good science is open to being sacrificed to the interests of overseas speculators seeking carte blanche, open ended and long term exploitation of New Zealand's most valuable economic assets: cows, sheep and goats without any specification of what they are doing or responsibility of any type.
"It looks like ERMA plans to approve this application despite the High Court saying that such applications are outside the law. The constant ignoring of community concerns has now spilled over to the actual possibility of statutory illegality. Can the taxpayer keep paying for such arrogance?
Claire Bleakley 06-3089842 / 027 348 6731
 Background to the case - www.gefree.org.nz or www.issues.co.nz/gefreenz..co.nz
 ERMA New Zealand Evaluation and Review Report
Supporting documents for Evaluation and Review Report on application ERMA200223, 2010
 ERMA Annual reports on GMF98009 and GMD 02028, 2000 -2008 www.ermanz.govt.nz/