The Royal Society has written to New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark stressing the scientific importance of continuing with the field trials of genetically modified plants and animals.

The Society, which represents over 15,000 scientists and other researchers and provides independent scientific policy advice, explained in its letter: “Field trials are an essential element in risk and benefit assessment.”

Steve Thompson, CEO of the Society, stressed that the scientists believe that it is imperative for New Zealand to take a leadership role in the GM issue.