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Maori should apologise over science gaffe

Maori should apologise over science gaffe

The National Party’s calling for Ngai Tahu to apologise to New Zealand’s scientific community after remarks made after the scuttling of research into rock lobsters and paua.

National’s Science spokesman Dr Paul Hutchison is commenting on Canterbury University Professor Frank Sin’s announcement to abandon genetic research into improving the growth of lobster and paua because of Maori concerns.

“Ngai Tahu spokesman Whiti Reia’s been reported as saying Maori should be consulted because ‘the public in general do not trust scientists’.

“It’s highly disturbing for a Maori spokesman to make such loose statements about scientists which are simply not based on fact.

“Some of the greatest benefits to Maori and all New Zealanders have come from scientific advances in medicine, agriculture and industry,” Dr Hutchison says.

“I wonder what Mr Reia would say about scientists and their purpose if diseases like those which struck oysters and mussels hit our paua or lobster fisheries.

“In my view New Zealand should honour its scientists,” says Dr Hutchison.

“They’re under funded and undervalued but committed to improving the lives of all Kiwis.

New Zealand has some of the most rigorous and responsible legislative frameworks for scientific research of anywhere in the world,” Dr Hutchison says.

“And clearly the real challenge now is for as many people as possible in New Zealand to become scientifically literate.

“It would be a tragedy if the understanding of our flora and fauna was compromised because of unfounded prejudice.

“I now believe Mr Reia’s reported remarks require clarification or an apology,” Dr Hutchison says.

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