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New Zealand’s Future is with Genetic Engineering: Productivity Commission

New Zealand may have to embrace Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and the products of genetic engineering in order to best survive the future, experts believe. A groundbreaking report by the New Zealand Productivity Commission detailed it is time for a full regulatory review of genetically modified organisms and technologies (GM). The report says there have been major advances in GM in recent years and gene-editing techniques.

This stance has been affirmed by industry stalwarts. BiotechNZ executive director and former biotech faculty of the University of Auckland, Dr Zahra Champion says ­­New Zealand needs to finally accept genetic modification (GM) products in a world of climate change and desperate global food needs.

They want to talk about New Zealand’s use of GM tech but we need action or we will be left far behind. Future generations will not be interested in staying in Aotearoa if we don’t use cutting edge technologies. We will see more brain drain and New Zealand will miss out on the fourth industrial revolution.

– Dr Zahra Champion, Executive Director, BiotechNZ

Moreover, Champion disclosed that there are many ways New Zealand can use biotech to achieve significant change while reducing any perceived risks still being risk-averse. She expressed frustration New Zealand is not doing more in the biotech world.

In addition, she pointed out that the risk is that biotechnology will be lost in New Zealand, at a time plant-based food and stem cell meat is seeking huge demand. Thus, Aotearoa needs to start looking at changing old regulations so it can use new technologies.

Dr Champion says there have been tremendous advances in GM since the legislation was put in place. Further, she reasoned that GM can grow productivity and the economy, help with biosecurity risks and respond to climate change risks. Gene-editing tech can help with drought tolerance, disease resistance, fruit ripening and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, she says.

Globally, there have been substantial advances in gene editing in agricultural, horticultural, food production and health science technologies. New Zealand has a strong reputation for safe food but at the moment GM technology is confined to research labs. Champion says the regulations are frustrating for some businesses. She noted that some companies are incredible and they could make a bigger difference if they were allowed to use gene editing.

The global biotech market is forecast to be worth US$ 729 billion by 2025. New Zealand is positioned well: ranked fourth in the world for innovation potential in biotech. Currently, no genetically modified products manufactured in New Zealand are commercially available. All use of GM techniques must have approval under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms  Act.

It must be noted that the link between biotechnology and ICT cannot be overemphasised. At the heart of this latest development in biotech are computers and emerging technologies such as the cloud and Artificial Intelligence.

PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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