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Peters' attack on health research ignorant

Friday, 29 September 2000 Media Statement

Peters' attack on health research ignorant, prejudiced


New Zealand First leader Winston Peters' remarks on the Health Research Council in a speech today are based on ignorance and prejudice, says Minister for Research, Science and Technology Pete Hodgson.

"New Zealand invests in Maori related health research for the obvious reason that no other country has any cause to do so," Mr Hodgson said.

"For example, the recent breakthrough research on stomach cancer in some Maori communities was only ever going to occur as a result of research done in New Zealand.

"New Zealand has always invested specifically in Maori health research and always will.

"Mr Peters crudely misrepresents the consequences of having all research proposals assessed on their ability to demonstrate their responsiveness to Maori.

"That does not mean, as he claims, that 'the approval process will be loaded in favour of applications that meet the approval of Maori'."

"In fact responsiveness to Maori is only one of five criteria for assessment. Not all successful research proposals fully meet all five criteria.

"Self-evidently, research into brain damage in neo-natal infants, into free radicals, or into youth suicide have no unique relevance to Maori. Such research still gets done.

"Mr Peters also fails to acknowldege that the criteria for assessing proposals have been evolving for several years under several Governments.

"Even a rudimentary acquaintance with history would have alerted Mr Peters to the fact that the Health Research Council had Maori health issues as part of its portfolio, criteria or guidelines back when he was Treasurer."

ENDS

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