The debate of whether New Zealand should grow genetically modified crops could be shifting away from the anti-GM stance the country has been in for the past few years.

Gone are the massive protests against the consideration of using GM crops.

Federated Farmers vice president William Rolleston, Ph.D., once said “forbidding the use of genetically modified (GM) products is a crime against humanity.”

Rolleston told attendees at a Chamber of Commerce event last week that although the public protesting has decreased and public attitudes seem to have changed, all research, development, importation and laws regarding GM crops have remained in the past.

“Public attitudes have changed,” he told the Nelson Mail. “The community isn’t so opposed to it [GM]. I’m not saying they want it as a whole, but there’s been a bit of change in the last 10 years. I’m not pro or anti-GM, but we need to have access to all the scientific tools available, and GM is part of that.”

Rolleston is also the Science and Innovation Ministry Board chairman and a member of the Science Board. He warned that New Zealand risked falling behind in agriculture if it did not consider the use of GM crops. He stressed that the government needs to invest in more research and technology to improve the country’s food value and production against decreasing land use.