1.NZ takes its biotech to the world
2.Developing Nations Slam NZ
Item 1 looks like NZ's 30 pieces of silver - except it's a bit more pathetic than that.
New Zealand's government is promoting NZ biotech via its 'New Thinking programme' (!) which helps NZ businesses 'compete globally by building on NZ's "clean, green" image'!!! Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
But, at least they can be sure of a warm (if incredulous) welcome in Philadelphia after the favours the NZ delegation did the biotech industry in Montreal.
Not everyone's so jubilant, however, as our second item notes: 'New Zealand is being condemned by developing nations for blocking an agreement that would require proper labelling of shipments of GM organisms'. As the leader of the African Group, Dr Tewolde has pointed out, New Zealand's intransigence has allowed 'global genetic pollution to escape unnoticed and unscathed'.
1.NZ takes its biotech to the world
New Zealand Herald, 20 June 05
New Zealand's largest biotech delegation will step out today to do battle with their competitors and rivals in Philadelphia.
Although the delegation comprises more than 60 people representing 47 biotech companies and organisations, it will be severely outnumbered. But Commerce Minister Pete Hodgson - who heads the delegation - says its members are determined to make an impact at the world's leading annual biotechnology convention, BIO 2005.
They will be competing with more than 18,000 scientists, business executives, venture capitalists, government officials and job seekers.
The companies attending include: cancer researcher Proacta; Lactopharma, a company developing an anti-inflammatory drug; and Neuren Pharmaceuticals, led by chief executive David Clarke, which is developing a brain repair drug.
The business pitches will be varied: they will talk about using biotechnology to improve the way farmers grow crops, doctors treat disease, and first responders detect terrorism, and tackle topics such as bioterrorism, genetically engineered food, stem cell research, prescription-drug safety and steroids used by athletes. "BIO is an opportunity for the New Zealand biotech community to show the world what it has got, including original, high quality research and an ability to generate valuable intellectual property," said Mr Hodgson, who was science minister until recently.
Part of New Zealand's bid to gain attention will be a New Thinking pavilion which has recycled many of the features of the successful New Zealand stand at the world's largest information technology fair, CeBIT, held in Hanover, Germany, in March.
The Government promoted the New Thinking programme as helping businesses compete globally by building on the "clean, green" image and seeking recognition for creativity, innovation and technology.
The New Zealand stand will again be alongside Australia, after last year's conference showed potential for the two delegations to work together.
The convention includes 150 educational sessions and workshops, 200 company presentations, 4000 partnering meetings and 1450 organisations exhibiting highlights of their technology.
2.Developing Nations Slam NZ for 'May Contain GM' stance
New Zealand is being condemned by developing nations for blocking an agreement that would require proper labelling of shipments of GM organisms, and effectively forcing each country to develop a patchwork of local laws.
A report by The South North Development Monitor says by blocking consensus at the Meeting of Parties to the Cartegna Protocol Brazil and New Zealand were successful in derailing the talks so no decision was adopted on Article 18.2(a) governing movements of GMO's internationally.
The move may force countries to develop their own laws creating more complex rules for industry to deal with. New Zealand farmers would be harmed unless new laws are also developed here, and the government's agenda is causing alarm throughout the many groups in New Zealand wanting a precautionary approach to GE.
New Zealand's position is highly contradictory and confusing. Our government is now promoting "may contain GM" as an adequate label when this term was previously rejected as 'unhelpful' and inadequate for labelling consumer goods.
The Chair of the Africa Group at the meeting warned that this would allow "global genetic pollution to escape unnoticed and unscathed".
This stand will also undermine international trade as countries are forced to act unilaterally to block GM contamination.
'The New Zealand government has been quietly changing its policy while the public are not looking, and are now effectively promoting GM contamination thresholds internationally," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment"
In closing statements at the conference delegates advised developing countries to design through their national legislation strict requirements for the documentation accompanying shipments of living GMO-FFPs.
GE Free NZ in food and environment believe New Zealand also needs new legislation to protect our farmers and the integrity of the agricultural system.
Without these rules the New Zealand government will be betraying not only the people of the developing world, but our own farming communities, and the public interest.
Jon Carapiet 0210 507 681
Documents of MOP-2:
(including the draft Decision on LMO-FFPs, UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/2/2)
Daily coverage by IISD Linkages:
Brazil, New Zealand block decision on documentation of GMOs
The South North Development Monitor (SUNS), 7 June 2005, issue #5815