National welcomes use of genetic technology research in Conservation

The National Party supports research into genetic technologies with the possibility of it playing a key role in New Zealand reaching its Predator Free 2050 goal, says National’s Conservation spokesperson Jacqui Dean.

“When National introduced the Predator Free initiative back in 2016, we did so with great ambition to have every part of New Zealand completely free of rats, stoats and possums by 2050.

“It was a move we made to protect New Zealand’s native birds and other species, along with the rest of our environment.

“Introduced pests threaten our economy and primary sector, with a total economic cost of around $3.3 billion a year.

“Some experts have said that in order to achieve that goal, new technologies need to be researched and utilised. Up until recently, the Government has not allowed Predator Free 2050 to fund research in this area but I’m glad its position has now changed.

“At the very least, we need to explore all the options we have available to us and have a conversation with the public to see if we, as a country, are comfortable moving in this direction.

“Adding genetic technologies to the toolkit will save millions of native birds and allow them to thrive in their habitat.

“The research being led by Otago geneticist Dr Tim Hore into possum reproduction, with a long term goal of creating control solutions, sounds promising and could provide a way of eradicating possums by 2050.

“National is committed to protecting the environment. Our conservation policy allows for work to take place to develop new biotechnology tools and techniques to help reduce the impact of pests and predators on native species.”