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Non-Maori Need Equal Chance To Have GE Say

Non-Maori need the same opportunity as Maori to speak directly to the Royal Commission into Genetic Modification, Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

The Royal Commission into Genetic Modification announced earlier this week it will host ten regional hui, 25 planning meetings and a national hui to get Maori input into the inquiry.

The free-flow format is designed to allow all who attend the regional hui to make a verbal submission lasting around 15 minutes to the four members of the commission. Eight of the ten all-day hui will be on Saturdays.

"I'm delighted that at last we have an open and accessible public forum for people to have a say on genetic engineering, and I congratulate the commission on setting up this process for Maori" said Ms Fitzsimons.

"But I'm concerned that so far there is no indication that non-Maori will get the same opportunity to speak directly to the commission."

Ms Fitzsimons said the comment which had repeatedly come back to her from the public meetings was that participants were disappointed that they had not had a chance to make a verbal submission to the commission, because the public meetings favoured a workshop format over verbal submissions.

Also as these meetings were all on weekdays, and some were arranged at short notice and with little publicity, people in employment found it hard to attend.

"I believe the 92,000 people who signed my petition calling for a Royal Commission into genetic engineering envisaged an open process which would allow them to speak directly to the commission, in the same way in which anyone could make a verbal submission to the inquiry into nuclear power.

"It's great that all Maori will now be able to give an oral submission if they want to. I only hope that non-Maori will be given the same opportunity before the commission makes its final recommendation on the country's future."


Ends


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