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Work progressing on Treaty principles amendments

Work progressing on Treaty principles amendments to HSNO

The government says work is proceeding to decide how the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996 can be amended to more appropriately reflect the Treaty of Waitangi relationship between Maori and the Crown.

The work is in response to the report of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, which also includes a wider package of amendments to the HSNO Act and the establishment of Toi Te Taiao, the Bioethics Council.

The government last year set up a Maori reference group to advise ministers on amendments to the Act to ensure it reflects the Treaty relationship in meaningful and constructive way.

"Their brief is to ensure that Maori values are given adequate and transparent weighting within the workings of the Act, and in particular in the decision-making processes," the Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said. "The group has indicated to me that it is focusing particularly on changes to the law which will help Maori involvement in a practical sense."

That group is due to report back shortly and the government expects to announce its decision on how the Act will be amended soon afterwards.

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