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Bioethics Council appointed

Bioethics Council appointed

Environment Minister Marian Hobbs today announced the membership of Toi te Taiao: The Bioethics Council, which was recommended by the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.

"The council is an advisory body charged with enhancing New Zealand's understanding of the cultural, ethical and spiritual aspects of biotechnology," Marian Hobbs said, "and ensuring that the values held by New Zealanders are considered in its use.

"The Bioethics Council is an essential plank in the regulation of GM which the government undertook to establish before the moratorium expires next October.

"The people appointed are well respected in their communities and exemplify the key attributes required of the council. This includes an open and inquiring mind and the ability to deal with complex issues, the respect and trust of their peers and the community, good judgement, excellent communication skills and time to dedicate to the Council. "The collective membership brings a range of skills, including knowledge of science particularly biotechnology, ecology, and social science, tikanga Mâori, Mâori development, ethics, cultural and spiritual values of New Zealanders." Former Governor General and Anglican Archbishop Sir Paul Reeves was appointed the inaugural chair of the council last May. He will be joined by: Helen Bichan, Wellington, who has scientific training and considerable experience in the health industry, most recently working in the area of mental health.

Eamon Daly, Christchurch, independent researcher in information technology ethics, and information privacy issues.

Anne Dickinson, Wellington, National Director of the Catholic agency for Justice, Peace and Development and final chair of the disestablished Independent Biotechnology Advisory Council (IBAC).

Professor Gary Hook, Whakatane, distinguished scientist who has spent his life as a scientific researcher after training as a biochemist. He is also a board member of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

Waiora Port, Auckland, respected Kuia with long-standing community knowledge of Maori health issues.

Graham Robertson, Ashburton, self-employed farmer and a past member of the Independent Biotechnology Advisory Council (IBAC).

Ian Shirley, Professor of Public and Social Policy, Auckland University of Technology.

Cherryl Smith, Whanganui, experience in horticulture and is a member of Te Waka Kai Ora, the Maori organic growers association.

Jill White, Palmerston North, former MP and former Mayor of Palmerston North who will join the council when her term as Chair of the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) expires shortly.

Dr Martin Wilkinson Auckland, a senior political studies lecturer at Auckland University.

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