This bears watching as the Life Sciences Network website has been pulled but not the Bioscience one - at least, as yet. Note also "Life Sciences Network chairman William Rolleston said his organisation would continue" although without paid staff. Monies from publicly funded sience institutes to these pro-GM PR outfits have been a key - and controversial! - source.
The best news is: "No one has applied to release GM organisms in NZ since the moratorium ended. In the past six weeks, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania have banned GM crops, and Victoria and New South Wales have banned trials of GM canola."
Pro-GM lobby institute closes
By SIMON COLLINS
A think-tank set up by New Zealand's leading paid lobbyist for research on genetically modified organisms has closed down because of "insufficient support".
Lobbyist Francis Wevers set up the Bioscience Policy Institute last year to promote "the education of the public of New Zealand in matters relating to the biological sciences". The institute was chaired by former Prime Minister Jim Bolger.
Mr Wevers is now out of a job after working since January 2000 first for the Life Sciences Network, which campaigned for lifting the moratorium on genetic modification until the moratorium ended last October, and then for the institute and a daily bioscience email news service.
"The policy institute and the news service are both closing," he said yesterday. "We have been unable to achieve sufficient financial support to continue either."
A conference planned for next month and a proposed academic journal have also been canned.
Mr Wevers, 57, is a former television journalist who worked for the Public Service Association from 1977 to 1990, then switched sides and became an employment relations consultant to employers.
He plans to return to consulting.
Life Sciences Network chairman William Rolleston said his organisation would continue but had not had paid staff since soon after the moratorium ended.
"It's still there should industry and science need to get together to deal with other issues where fear and over-reaction arise," he said.
Anti-GM group Mothers Against Genetic Engineering (Madge) also faces an uncertain future after founder Alannah Currie said in January that she was moving to Britain.
Spokeswoman Maike Nevill said the group had not met this year but would meet on Monday to decide how to handle a High Court order last September to pay $24,000 to AgResearch for its legal costs in a court case brought by Madge against the state institute's GM research (opposing GE cows with human genes outside the laboratory).
AgResearch had made no effort to recover the money, said Ms Nevill. "It suits AgResearch just fine because as long as we are in this situation, obviously we can't go out and campaign and actually gather money because then they will have a right to that," she said.
No one has applied to release GM organisms in NZ since the moratorium ended.
In the past six weeks, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania have banned GM crops, and Victoria and New South Wales have banned trials of GM canola. Queensland is the only state that still allows all GM crops [but its climate is unsuitable for growing the one in question] ENDS