An organics lobby group is demanding more rigorous controls of a genetically engineered tree trial after a fence was breached by protesters.
A electrified perimeter fence at Crown research institute Scion's base in Rotorua was breached on Monday and around 20 pine trees chopped down in an apparent protest.
Scion had been studying how 80 radiata pine and Norway spruce trees reproduce.
Police said that a hole had been dug under the fence, allowing somebody to burrow underneath.
A spade bearing a GE Free New Zealand sticker was left behind.
Scion said it was reviewing the breach and looking at whether any genetically modified material could have been removed.
Soil and Health association spokesman Steffan Browning said today Biosecurity NZ had indicated it would investigate the breach, which the association hoped would lead to far more rigorous controls and compliance checks of the trial.
The association had previously reported compliance breaches by Scion, and yesterday's news had raised concerns of GE plant material being removed from the secured area, he said.
"The Environmental Risk Management Authority have said that there appeared not to have been material removed by those involved in the cutting down of GE trial trees.
"However, rabbits appear to have been risking that ever since the trial started...infesting the trial plot and surrounds."
The civil disobedience was not surprising, Mr Browning said.
"Considering overwhelming opposition to genetic engineering in New Zealand, field trials should be treated as a privilege and run to the highest level of precaution."
source: newshub archive