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Greens Say GE Advisory Body Should Go

The resignation announced today of Independent Biotechnology Advisory Council (IBAC) convenor Professor Peter Gluckman should be followed by official disbanding of the whole body, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said.

Minister of Research, Science and Technology Pete Hodgson said today Prof Gluckman had resigned "to be more involved with a University of Auckland start-up company working on novel pharmaceuticals for treating brain disease.

"He was concerned to avoid any possible conflict of interest with IBAC," Mr Hodgson said in a statement.

Ms Fitzsimons said she wished Prof Gluckman, who had long been a strong promoter and practitioner of genetic engineering, had recognised his conflict of interest earlier. She said that rather than waste money on a replacement, the Government should immediately end IBAC.

"The funding should be diverted to the awaited Royal Commission of Inquiry into genetic engineering," Ms Fitzsimons said. "IBAC no longer has a role. It was set up by the last government as a way of trying to head off such a commission. It has consulted with people individually and in private - a process which has not provided a forum for public debate or an opportunity for people with different views to learn from each other, as we hop the Royal Commission will do," she said.

"While a new GE advisory body might follow the commission, it will certainly not be as pro-genetic engineering as IBAC. Its role and membership should be determined after government has received and considered the recommendations of the Royal Commission."

ends

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 07 8686641, 025 586068 Jonathan Hill, (press secretary): 021 1101133


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