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New report condemns biased GM surveys

A report released by Otago University School of Business researchers casts a new light on assertions about impacts of GM on New Zealand trade prospects.

The report's authors, John Knight, David Holdsworth and Damien Mather, reject conclusions drawn by other researchers and describe research undertaken for the Sustainability Council as "contamination of public opinion".

They also say the failure of some recent researchers to adhere to "accepted and acceptable [research] procedures is likely to result in misinformation ending up in the news media."

This, say the authors, is serious in terms of potential to bring the whole market research discipline in New Zealand into disrepute. They detail serious errors of fact and misrepresentation of information.

As a result the report suggests it may be appropriate for legislative safeguards to "...ensure that the market research industry adheres to the same ethical standards required of academic researchers, so that public debate on issues such as this [the GM debate] does not become contaminated by invalid public opinion polls."

The comments are contained in an appendix to a very detailed report on European attitudes and perceptions about the impacts of GM on New Zealand exports.

The report discloses a very different picture to that which has been reported by other recent studies - which are subject of serious criticism for failure to follow "accepted and acceptable procedures".

The authors urge a cautious and considered approach to the adoption of GM in the food chain in NZ exports - consistent with the recommendations of the Royal Commission on GM.

Source: Research Report 22 September 2003




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