Green co-leader will be led by science – but GM is not yet a Shaw thing

The  Ardern   government  wants to  lead the world  in implementing  measures  to  combat  climate  change.  Prime Minister  Jacinda Ardern put her personal stamp on this by saying it will be  her  government”s  “nuclear-free”  moment.

The science  on  global  warming  is clear,  say  both   Labour and  the Greens.   So  shouldn’t every   kind of  science   be  used  to  combat it?

Well,  no,  says  the  Green  Party.  It  refuses   to  contemplate  genetic  modification  as an instrument   for  example   in the  campaign  to  make  NZ-predator   free.

Predator Free 2050 is forbidden from carrying out any research which could lead to the use of genetic modification or gene editing, a letter written by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage shows.

The letter of direction to Predator Free 2050 obtained by lobby group Life Sciences Network said its primary tasks were to invest in breakthrough scientific research, but not to research into genetically modified organisms and technologies or gene editing, and to raise funds for co-investment by other (non-government) parties, in landscape scale projects and breakthrough science, excluding any science involving genetic modification.

This  flies in the face of  the advice  of  Sir  Peter  Gluckman  who,  in  his last  major statement  as   NZ’s  chief  science  advisor  said:

The science is as settled as it will be; that is, it’s safe, that there are no significant ecological or health concerns associated with the use of advanced genetic technologies”.

Some  commentators  this  week   detected   a change   in tune    on genetic modification from  Green co-leader  James  Shaw.

Backed  into a  corner  by  Corin Dann  on  TVNZ’s  Q&A, Shaw   conceded   he would be led  by the  science on the issue.  

Pressed  on  how    the  government    would  confront  the many challenges of meeting the climate change goals  the government  is facing, he said:

“I want to see what the science says about that and what the Science Ethics Committee would say about that. I would be led by the science on it”.

NB:  He  didn’t concede    what  someone  as  eminent  as  Sir Peter Gluckman   says about the  science.

 So he has given  himself room  to  back  away – but at  the  same  time  he’s  probably only too well  aware  that  genetic  engineering  is  the  key to tackle such  problems   as  developing  sustainable food production at  the same time as cutting  agricultural  emissions.

 What’s  the point  of  NZ  being in the forefront  of  cutting  methane  emissions  from  cattle  if the  displaced  production  from a  reduced  dairy herd in NZ then  comes  from  higher  production  in  other countries   desperate to   feed  rising  populations?

NZ  agriculture  needs  the  kind of  genetically  modified  feedstocks, including  grasses,  which can help farmers  sustain production and  reduce  emissions. Vaccines   are  unlikely   to  do the trick soon enough.

Shaw  is  clearly   having a    political  battle  on   his hands   in  establishing  the  Climate   Change  Commission.

He confirmed the proposed commission won’t be independent of government:

If you look at the public submissions that came through when we did the consultation last year the overwhelming majority of those said look the issues here, you know there are big scientific issues which the Commission should rightly handle but there are also big economic and political issues and it’s ultimately parliament’s role to make those big calls and so we’re building that principal into the design of the legislation.’

He is adamant that the government has been upfront about the costs of transition:

“I believe that our economy will be stronger as a result of this, not weaker.”


“I do think that we can do it, and it is going to take all of us, and it is going to take everything we’ve got.”

Including,  Point of Order    believes,  the  science of  genetic modification.

3 thoughts on “Green co-leader will be led by science – but GM is not yet a Shaw thing

  1. Is it really a surprise that the Greens only agree with science that matches their policies? Confirmation bias writ large. I don’t think there is any Green MP with a hard science or engineering degree. No-one knows about facts, only feelings. Says it all, doesn’t it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I believe that our economy will be stronger as a result of this, not weaker.” What total BS a clueless fool. He is adamant that the government has been upfront about the costs of transition. Lies the costs involve will completely sink the economy. No practical plan has been put forward just meaning less waffle.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s preposterous that charlatans like the Greens are able to block important science because of their superstitions.


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