Biotechnologies in pest wasp control: taking the sting out of pest management for Māori businesses?

S. Palmer and O. R. Mercier,  New Genetics and Society,  2020.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, the government?s ambitious target of becoming ?predator-free? by 2050 has reignited public discussion on biotechnologies. The disproportionate abundance of German and common wasps in New Zealand disrupts native biodiversity and costs $133 million annually to the economy, making exotic wasps an expedient trial pest species for novel biotechnological controls. Maori businesses occupy primary industries said to benefit from wasp control. A Maori-centered mixed-method study gauged the perceptions of eight Maori businesses about the potential use of five specific new biotechnological controls in pest management. Participants raised concerns about risk and side effects; called for further information and a reconfiguring of how information is presented; reflected on previous pest challenges; and took positions in reference to Maori customary concepts. While all agree that doing nothing is not an option, careful, informed deliberation is required on whether and how best to move forward with these new biotechnological controls.

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