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ERMA challenged by own Maori committee

06 September 2000

ERMA challenged by own Maori committee

An appeal to the High Court by the Maori advisory committee to ERMA shows that ERMA is ignoring the advice of its own experts, the Green Party said today.

Maori advisory committee members have added their names to the list of appellants taking a case against the majority ERMA decision allowing AgResearch to develop a herd of cows with human genes.

"This situation shows that ERMA has ignored the concerns of its own Maori advisory committee and the local hapu Ngati Wairere," said Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley.

"The court action suggests ERMA may have breached its obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi," she said.

"It is an extraordinary situation when a Maori advisory committee is forced to take high court action against the body that appoints it in order to get them to listen to their advice."

Ms Kedgley described the action as "courageous and visionary".

The High Court appeal comes after Minister of Maori Affairs Parekura Horomia said in Parliament on July 26 that he did not consider ERMA was qualified to decide whether Treaty of Waitangi protection extends past physical taonga. "These issues are matters for Maori and the Crown to jointly consider."

Ms Kedgley said today there was a Treaty obligation to take the concerns of local hapu Ngati Wairere seriously.

"The impact of genetic engineering on Maori spiritual values and taonga such as native flora and fauna have never been adequately assessed," said Ms Kedgley.

Sue Kedgley MP: 04 470 6728 or 025 270 9088 Jonathan Hill, (press secretary): 04 470 6719 or 021 4400 90

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