Genetic technologies such as gene editing are developing quickly and their cost is rapidly falling. This is creating new approaches in health care, environmental management and food production, which have reached a point that challenges existing legal, regulatory and risk assessment systems, with some applications raising ethical concerns around the world.
New Zealand needs to ensure that its regulatory framework is able to accommodate these technological developments, while protecting our unique environment and indigenous and cultural heritage.
Without regulatory reassessment, New Zealand risks being unprepared for both the new technologies’ benefits, and the risks and challenges they bring. As a global citizen, New Zealand also has an ethical obligation to share and contribute to global knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and risks that using these technologies present.
New Zealand cannot leave this to other nations. Other countries and regions, such as USA, Europe, Australia and Japan, are currently reviewing their regulatory systems to ensure they keep pace with technological change and provide an appropriate level of oversight.
Alongside this, New Zealand industries, research communities, as well as local and central government, need to work together to raise awareness and assist New Zealand’s diverse communities to understand the real risks and opportunities these new technologies bring, in order to inform any changes …. [T]he Panel has examined the current New Zealand legal and regulatory environment, informed by its analysis of, and stakeholder reaction to, a range of scenarios demonstrating possible future applications of gene editing techniques.
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