Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


NZ Must Act On Genetically Engineered Babies

6 May 2001

New Zealand Must Act On Genetically Engineered Babies

News that 15 genetically engineered babies have already been born in the US showed that gene technology is fast getting out of control and the New Zealand parliament must act quickly to limit its use here, Green MP Sue Kedgley said today.

American scientists have confirmed that 15 babies - the oldest now four years old - have been born after a process of 'germ line therapy' in which genetic material is altered to allow infertile women have babies.

"What people are starting to realise is that the most powerful technolgy the world has ever seen is now already out of control and ethical boundaries never foreseen or considered are being pushed beyond the limits," said Ms Kedgley.

"I call on the New Zealand Government to act quickly on this and ban the practice of genetically engineering human beings by fast-tracking consideration of the Human Assisted Reproduction Bill which has been referred to the Health Select Committee," she said.

Ms Kedgley said it was important that people understood these babies with engineered genetic structure would pass these alterations on to any offspring they might have.

"The germ line therapy used here allows the permanent alteration of the human genetic code and this puts humanity on the slipperyest of slopes.

"Following this announcement, and the willingness of some scientists to start experimenting with human cloning, there is no reason for people to doubt that our greatest fears - such as the creation of designer babies or a genetically engineered 'master race' - are now well out of the realm of science fiction."

Ms Kedgley said the creation of these babies raised serious ethical and religious issues which had not been properly aired or discussed here.

"New Zealand needs to follow the lead of Australia, Germany and Switzerland in banning the use of this germ line therapy. If we do not and instead stand back and allow the permanent alteration of the human genetic code then our future may exceed our wildest fears," she said.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Suffrage 125: NZ A Trailblazer For Women

“We acknowledge the work of Kate Sheppard, Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, and all of the suffragists who tirelessly campaigned for the vote. We also acknowledge the men who supported the cause and voted for the Bill to pass.

“Today we also need to ask each other: how we can continue to make our country a fairer and better place to continue the legacy of the suffragists.

“Aotearoa New Zealand has a female Prime Minister, we have women in cabinet. And I’m here as Acting Minister because the Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter is on maternity leave. New Zealand is a good place to be a woman!” More>>


Asylum: Refugee Quota Increasing To 1500

“The quota increase will take place from July 2020. In the meantime, we will work to increase the number and spread of refugee resettlement and support services. We need to make sure we’re prepared for this change in policy.” More>>


'Post-Settlement Era': Māori Crown Agency To Be Established

Cabinet has approved the final scope of the Māori Crown portfolio and agreed to establish an agency to oversee Government’s work with Māori in a post-settlement era, announced Crown/ Māori Relations Minister Kelvin Davis. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Military Roles In Iraq & Afghanistan

The politics of the deployment extension have degenerated into a slanging match about whether the previous National government was right or wrong to make the initial commitment to Iraq – and whether the extension is a responsible thing given our joint training role in Iraq with Australia, or is hypocritical in the light of prior statements made by a previous Labour leader... More>>


Commissioner To Be Appointed: Govt To Dismiss Board Of Whitireia And WelTec

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has made a preliminary decision to appoint a Commissioner to Whitireia and WelTec to address the two polytechnics’ financial woes. More>>


Open Government Action Plan: Government To Proactively Release Cabinet Papers

The Cabinet papers will be released no later than 30 business days after a Cabinet decision. This process will be in place for Cabinet papers lodged from 1 January 2019... More>>


NZ Initiative: Evidence Of "Huge" Government Waste

It is not so much that spending is being literally wasted. Rather the best performing countries are achieving much better outcomes relative to their spending. More>>





InfoPages News Channels