This Notice Records the Voluntary Moratorium Discussed Between the Government and Persons Involved in the Field Testing or Release of Genetically Modified Organisms The purpose of this notice is to explain the terms of the voluntary moratorium on the release and field testing of genetically modified organisms that is in place during the term of the Royal Commission into Genetic Modification and for a time after it has reported. The notice explains the moratorium, including the criteria for exemption and the process for requesting an exemption from the Minister for the Environment to field test a genetically modified organism. N o t i c e 1. Application of voluntary moratorium-(1) The voluntary moratorium applies to all applications made in accordance with the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 to field test a genetically modified organism, to import a genetically modified organism for release, or to release a genetically modified organism from containment. (2) The voluntary moratorium came into force on 14 June 2000 and expires on 31 August 2001. 2. Compliance with voluntary moratorium-A person complies with the voluntary moratorium if that person does not apply to the Environmental Risk Management Authority to field test a genetically modified organism or release a genetically modified organism, unless the person requests and receives an exemption from the Minister for the Environment. 3. Requesting an exemption from voluntary moratorium-A person may request an exemption from the voluntary moratorium by sending to the Minister for the Environment information that explains why a proposed application to field test a genetically modified organism meets the criteria for exemption from the moratorium and how the proposed application will meet the prescribed containment controls. This request for exemption should be made before an application, prepared in accordance with the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996, is formally lodged with the Environmental Risk Management Authority. 4. Exemptions from voluntary moratorium-The Minister for the Environment, in consultation with other relevant Ministers, may agree that an application to field test a genetically modified organism be exempt from the voluntary moratorium and lodged with the Environmental Risk Management Authority if: (a) The application specifies controls for the genetically modified organism that comply with clause 5 of this notice; and (b) One or more of the following matters applies to the field test: (i) The field test involves fermentation of more than 10 litres of micro-organisms in conditions of highly secure containment; (ii) The field test is for medical purposes, or for the development of therapeutic agents and the field test is necessary to continue an existing line of inquiry, or to develop and test new drugs or potential therapies: (iii) A delay in applying to the Authority for approval to field test a genetically modified organism until after 31 August 2001 means that there is a substantial risk of New Zealand losing scientific inquiry knowledge, or that New Zealand would lose the potential health, environmental, or commercial benefits from the use of the organism; and (iv) The level of investment in an ongoing line of inquiry is substantial and the delay in applying to the Environmental Risk Management Authority for approval to field test a genetically modified organism would prejudice the value of the earlier investment. 5. Controls necessary for exemption-(1) If the application is to field test a genetically modified plant, conditions will be placed on the test will ensure that: (a) Once any reproductive structure above the ground reaches the stage where it is capable of releasing heritable material it shall be immediately removed, and transported in secure containment if required, and destroyed; and (b) Any heritable material beneath the ground is retrieved, transported in secure containment if required, and destroyed once the test is complete; unless the heritable material is required for research purposes in which case it shall be retained in conditions of high security. (2) If the application is to field test a genetically modified animal, and that animal contains human genes, controls will be placed on that field test to ensure that all animals forming part of the test, including their offspring, are: (a) Held in secure containment; and (b) Clearly identified in case the animal escapes. 6. Effect of exemption-If the Minister for the Environment, in consultation with other relevant Ministers, agrees to exempt a proposed application from the voluntary moratorium, the person may lodge the application with the Environmental Risk Management Authority and receipt of that application by the Authority will not breach the voluntary moratorium. 7. Definition of terms-The terms "release", "field test" and "genetically modified organism" have the meanings given to them in the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996. 8. Effect of moratorium-(1) The voluntary moratorium is a voluntary commitment and has no legal status or binding effect. (2) The establishment of the voluntary moratorium does not affect the Government's ability to introduce legislation imposing a moratorium on applications to the Environmental Risk Management Authority if the voluntary moratorium is breached or for any other reason that the Government considers relevant. The contents and effect of any legislation may differ from the content and effects of the voluntary moratorium. (3) No person is entitled to any remedy for a breach of the moratorium or for the introduction or enactment of any legislation imposing a moratorium on applications under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996. (4) The provisions of the voluntary moratorium do not preclude any person, for the purpose of pre-application discussions or advice, from discussing a proposed field test of a genetically modified organism with the Environmental Risk Management Authority, or submitting material related to a proposed field test to the Authority, prior to lodging the application with the Authority.