Prime Minister talks of value of relationship with Australia for science

Auckland 19 August 2009

Vital Vegetables® example of successful trans-Tasman collaboration

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key today acknowledged the strength of trans-Tasman scientific collaborations, important for the success of programmes like Vital Vegetables®.

The Prime Minister spoke at an event hosted by the Victoria Department of Primary Industries in Melbourne. The event was held at the Australian Synchrotron, a particle accelerator used for observing molecular interactions and analysing structures for scientific research. Prime Minister John Key’s speech recognised the success of the Vital Vegetables programme as an example of Australia – New Zealand scientific collaboration.

The Synchrotron is partially funded by the New Zealand science industry.

Vital Vegetables® is a collaborative programme between the New Zealand and Australian horticulture industries, looking to develop vegetables with added health benefits. The first product, Booster Broccoli™, looks like regular broccoli but has higher levels of healthy antioxidants. Booster Broccoli™ was launched in Australia earlier this week.

New Zealand scientists are using the Australian Synchrotron to identify the how and where in the vegetable plant selenium is stored. Using this knowledge, researchers can identify key characteristics for the breeding of new vegetable varieties with high levels of selenium, a mineral vital for human health and found at low levels in New Zealand soils.

The Vital Vegetables® programme has five partners – Plant & Food Research, Horticulture New Zealand, Horticulture Australia, AusVeg and the Victoria Department of Primary Industries.

Contact:
Emma Timewell
Communications Manager, Corporate Communications,
Plant & Food Research Mt Albert,
120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham
Auckland, 1025, New Zealand
EMail: media@plantandfood.co.nz
Telephone: +64-9-925 8692
Mobile: +64-21-2429 365

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