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"Activism in Paradise": A Critical Discourse Analysis of a Public Relations Campaign against Genetic Engineering
Unformatted Document Text:  “Activism in paradise”: A critical discourse analysis of a public Tracking number relations campaign against genetic engineering. ICA-15-10063 4 modified primary produce in overseas markets (Williamson, 1999). Additionally, the current Labour government seeks to maintain a competitive edge in international markets through creating a “knowledge economy” based on industries such as information technology and biotechnology (Catching the knowledge wave, New Zealand Herald. 2001, August 4). As a result of political pressure from both the Green party and the Alliance party, the Labour Government set up a Royal Commission on Genetic Modification in July 2000, aimed at informing public policy in this area. The process of enquiry adopted by the Commission was the subject of criticism (Beston, 2000; Henderson, 2001). Members of the public were allowed to make written submissions but not to present evidence as witnesses to the Commission; this opportunity was reserved for groups deemed to be “interested parties” to the issues. Although the Commission arranged specific “hui”, or meetings, to consult with Maori, and a Youth Forum, the number of public meetings held with the Commissioners around the country was limited. In recognition of this criticism, a public survey was also commissioned in March/April 2001 after submissions were completed but before the Commission’s final report. In a report issued on 27 July 2001, the Royal Commission’s overall recommendation was that New Zealand should “preserve opportunities” (Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, 2001, p. 2). By this the Commission meant that opportunities should exist simultaneously for the potential development of both organic production in primary industries and growth in primary production involving genetic modification, as well as opportunities for possible health, medical, and other research benefits from genetic modification technologies. The Royal Commission recommended limited rights to commercial field trials of genetically modified crops and products. However, the voluntary moratorium on these field trials, which

Authors: Henderson, Alison.
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“Activism in paradise”: A critical discourse analysis of a public
Tracking number
relations campaign against genetic engineering.
ICA-15-10063
4
modified primary produce in overseas markets (Williamson, 1999). Additionally, the current
Labour government seeks to maintain a competitive edge in international markets through
creating a “knowledge economy” based on industries such as information technology and
biotechnology (Catching the knowledge wave, New Zealand Herald. 2001, August 4).
As a result of political pressure from both the Green party and the Alliance party, the Labour
Government set up a Royal Commission on Genetic Modification in July 2000, aimed at
informing public policy in this area. The process of enquiry adopted by the Commission was
the subject of criticism (Beston, 2000; Henderson, 2001). Members of the public were
allowed to make written submissions but not to present evidence as witnesses to the
Commission; this opportunity was reserved for groups deemed to be “interested parties” to
the issues. Although the Commission arranged specific “hui”, or meetings, to consult with
Maori, and a Youth Forum, the number of public meetings held with the Commissioners
around the country was limited. In recognition of this criticism, a public survey was also
commissioned in March/April 2001 after submissions were completed but before the
Commission’s final report.
In a report issued on 27 July 2001, the Royal Commission’s overall recommendation was that
New Zealand should “preserve opportunities” (Royal Commission on Genetic Modification,
2001, p. 2). By this the Commission meant that opportunities should exist simultaneously for
the potential development of both organic production in primary industries and growth in
primary production involving genetic modification, as well as opportunities for possible
health, medical, and other research benefits from genetic modification technologies. The
Royal Commission recommended limited rights to commercial field trials of genetically
modified crops and products. However, the voluntary moratorium on these field trials, which


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