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Bill Needs Help To Clarify Question Of Cloning

1 May 2002

Govt Bill Needs Help To Clarify Question Of Human Cloning

National MP Dr Paul Hutchison has moved an amendment to proposed legislation to make it clear that any type of cloning technique with the intention of producing human infants will be illegal in New Zealand.

The Government's Genetically Modified Organisms and Restricted Biotechnical Procedures Bill, being debated by Parliament tonight, would inadvertently have banned certain types of cloning techniques but did not explicitly exclude human cloning, Dr Hutchison said.

"What this shows is that this bill is rushed legislation. Labour has tacked on to the bill specified biotechnical and biomedical procedures - one of those is xenotransplanation used in diabetes research, the other is germ-cell genetic modification. These techniques had nothing to do with the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.

"The Government was trying to temporarily ban these two procedures but they didn't realise that germ-cell genetic modification could potentially ban human cloning.

"My amendment does not intend to ban stem cell research, invitro fertilisation and other various similar techniques that are conventionally used all around the world.

"The Ministry of Health tells us that there is no specific legislation to stop cloning in New Zealand, which means anyone could come into New Zealand and start human cloning.

"My amendment is designed to make it clear that human cloning is not allowed in New Zealand. The Human Reproduction Technology Bill should have properly dealt with human cloning, but the Government has failed to progress it," Dr Hutchison said.

Ends

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