12 Mar 2013

Farm lobby keen on GE grasses

5:45 pm on 12 March 2013

Federated Farmers wants genetic engineering (GE) regulations reviewed so that drought tolerant grasses and crops can be created as soon as possible.

Five regions of the North Island are currently in a state of drought, while a decision is pending on another four.

Scientists say the risk of drought in many parts of the country is likely to double by 2040 due to climate change.

Federated Farmers' vice president William Rolleston says genetic engineering regulations in this country are very restrictive and could delay the creation of drought-resistant grasses and crops.

Dr Rolleston says overseas experience as shown the technology can be used safely and the government needs to take an unemotional review of New Zealand's GE regulations.