Environmental and Sustainability Research at University of Waikato
for Māori and Pacific Development
The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) of 29 July 1998 was enacted by the New Zealand Parliament to manage risk from hazardous substances and new organisms. A "new organism" includes any organism foreign to New Zealand. An organism is any living thing that is capable of reproduction, including animals, plants and microbes as well as viruses. Organisms proposed for genetic modifications (genetically modified organisms or GMO's) that are already present in New Zealand would fall under this definition.
The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) undertakes administration of HSNO regulations concerning new organisms. Here on campus, administration of low-risk ERMA applications has been delegated to the Institutional Biological Safety Committee (IBSC). All GMO work on campus to date has been low-risk and not developed for use in commercial or field applications. Summary information regarding ERMA regulations and application procedures at the University of Waikato are provided on the Info.Sci website. Once you access this website, expand the "HSNO Act Compliance" folder at the left side of page by clicking on the adjacent "+" symbol. Within this folder are documents about the HSNO net, the Biological Safety Committee and HSNO website links. The "ERMA Applications" folder is also found here, and contains information for students and staff planning to conduct research or teaching activities needing ERMA compliance.
Genetic engineering (GE) technology at University of Waikato has largely been used as a tool to identify organisms at the genetic level, to replicate and study the behavior of proteins and enzymes or creating and observing GMO's purely for instructional purposes. For a summary of ERMA applications made by the University of Waikato to date, go to the ERMA website, click the "Registers" of applications button, click the "Application Register Search" link, enter "University of Waikato" in the Applicant Organisation field, and click the Submit Search button.