The group GE-Free New Zealand says the appointment of William Rolleston to head the Government's new Innovation Board is cause for serious disquiet.
The Innovation Board will have $150 million annually to give to businesses to develop good ideas.
Dr Rolleston also leads the Life Sciences Network, which promotes genetic modification as a safe development in biotechnology.
GE-Free New Zealand spokesperson Jon Carapiet says heading both a research-funding body and an organisation that supports GE must surely put Dr Rolleston at risk of bias.
But Dr Rolleston says his new role will not cause a conflict of interest because procedures are in place to avoid that.
He says it is the responsibility of the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) to decide on applications requesting the use of genetic modification, not his board.