Where are we being Led?Monday, Jul 30, 2001
The NZ government will this week be handling two possibly contradictory planning or development issues
that will bear significantly on farmers and farming as well as the rest of New Zealand well into
the future. Knowledge, economics, science, technology, health and welfare are all wrapped up in
the constraints of the GM study and the growth and expectations of the Knowledge Wave Conference
The GM Commission reports on its findings. Anti GM or Green lobby will be turning cartwheels and demanding
immediate legislation forbidding any application of GM technologies if the report is in any
way slightly cautious in its view.
However if the report is in anyway accepting, the doomsayers will poor all their vitriolic scorn on
the commission process and continue their demand for immediate legislative action to ensure all biological
research is halted forever.
At the other end of the spectrum the Knowledge Wave Conference is hoping to promote all the benefits
of the new and the fanciful in the hope of growing NZ’s economy. But knowledge is non productive
until it is applied.
Therefore, the relevancy and applicability of the knowledge to that which already exists or can be readily
created is critical to how to grow the economy. And that is probably where the rural industries
Can farmers and farming improve the performance of their sector? If they can what is the knowledge and
what is the science that is required? What is a realistic objective?
Perhaps two blades of grass where one grew before or so many hundred million ewe equivalents by such
and such a date? Is success to be gained by just a remixing of an old and failed recipe?
Or is food and fibre production sensibly outside the vision of the planners and politicians who would
legislate to cater for countries fears and shortcomings rather than its aspirations and abilities.
This week for the government may have the characteristics of the comment made by the shy young rural
fellow who returned from his honeymoon saying “Sex - it was much better talking about it than