Genetically-modified organisms field tests

In a field test or outdoor development, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are kept within outdoor enclosures with physical barriers.

Operating procedures, such as preventing plants from flowering, are also used to keep the genetically-modified plant or animal within its secure enclosure.

These activities are classed as being in containment within approved facilities.

Active field tests and outdoor developments in New Zealand

Approvals for field tests/outdoor developments currently taking place in New Zealand require the applicant(s) to provide us with an annual report.

Field test and outdoor development approval holders' annual reports

GMO field tests and outdoor developments approved prior to July 1998

Before July 1998, field tests involving GMOs were approved or declined by the Minister for the Environment following assessment, and recommendation by the Interim Assessment Group.

Applications for outdoor experiments involving GMOs that were approved before July 1998 (pdf, 135 KB)

GMO field tests and outdoor developments approved since July 1998

Since July 1998, decisions on field test and outdoor development applications have been made by us.

Approvals of field tests of GM crop and ornamental plants Approval date Status of field test
Petunias with altered plant form or pigmentation (GMF98002) November 1998 Complete​d
Sugar beet with herbicide tolerance (GMF98004) March 1999 Complete​d
Maize with herbicide tolerance (GMF98005) October 1999 Did not commence
Maize with insect resistance (GMF98006) October 1999 Did not commence
Potato with resistance to bacterial soft rots (GMF98007) December 1998 Completed
Potato with insect resistance (GMF98008) December 1998 Completed
Onion modified for herbicide resistance (GMF03001) December 2003 Completed
Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and forage kale with insect resistance (GMF06001) May 2007 Approval expired February 2013. Completed
Onion, spring onion, garlic and leek with altered agronomic and quality traits (GMF06002) November 2008 ​Approval to November 2018.
Not commenced

Approvals for field tests of GM trees

Radiata pine modified with maker genes (GMF98011) December 1998 Did not commence
Radiata pine with altered reproductive development (GMF99001) December 2000 Approval to December 2020. No activity is occurring under this approval
Radiata pine and Norway spruce with herbicide resistance (GMF99005) December 2000 Approval to December 2019. No activity is occurring under this approval
Radiata pine with altered plant growth/biomass acquisition, reproductive development, herbicide tolerance,utilisable biomass, wood density and dimensional stability (ERMA200479) December 2010 Approval to December 2035. Currently operating
Approvals for field tests or outdoor developments of GM animals    
Sheep that produce human alpha-1-antitrypsin in their milk (GMF98001) March 1999 Completed
Sheep with inactivated myostatin genes (GMF99004) October 2000​ ​Did not commence
Cattle with altered milk composition (have disrupted beta-lactoglobulin gene or carry extra copies of the cattle casein gene) (GMF98009 Part I) November 1999 Completed. All research is now conducted under the approval for  ERMA200223 (below)
Cattle which produce human myelin basic protein in milk (GMF98009 Part II) May 2001 Completed. All research is now conducted under the approval for ERMA200223 (below)
Cattle which produce therapeutic proteins in milk or used to study gene function and genetic performance (GMD02028) Sep 2002 Completed. All research is now conducted under the approval for ERMA200223 (below)
Develop goats, sheep and cows to produce human therapeutic proteins for the study of gene function, milk composition and disease resistance (ERMA200223) April 2010

Approval to April 2030. Currently operating.

Approvals for field tests of GM microorganisms. 

Prior to 2003 field tests included large scale fermentations of microorganisms.   

E. coli bacteria to produce proteins for a hydatids vaccine (GMF98010) June 1999

Did not commence