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Cloning Rules Urgently Needed

New Zealand urgently needs rules on human cloning and other issues surrounding human reproductive technology, Green Party MP and Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

Responding to news that fertility specialists overseas are racing to produce the first cloned human being, Ms Kedgley said New Zealand urgently needed a comprehensive legal framework in this area.

"New Zealand has one of the most unregulated environments for human reproductive technologies in the world. As a result there's nothing to stop scientists from doing human cloning work here.

"Doctors and scientists working in the fertility area are governed only by voluntary self-regulation. The National Ethics Committee on Human Assisted Reproduction is weak and does not have statutory powers to enforce its recommendations.

"I am concerned that some fertility specialists and researchers seem not to want legislation, preferring to continue to work in an essentially unregulated environment in which the community has very little, if any, say over issues that have profound ethical issues for society.

"Parliament needs to give urgent consideration to two bills on Human Reproductive technology which have been languishing in the parliamentary system for years."

Ms Kedgley said the Green Party favoured the establishment of a strong, independent authority, similar to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in the United Kingdom, to lead public debate and regulation.

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