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New Bioethics Council chair and members appointed

5 August 2004

New Bioethics Council chair and members appointed

Environment Minister Marian Hobbs announced today the appointment of a new Chair and two new members to Toi te Taiao: The Bioethics Council.

Former MP, Palmerston North mayor and present Bioethics Council member, Jill White is the new chair and the two new members are Professor Christopher Cunningham and Professor Piri Sciascia.

"I am pleased to appoint Jill White as the new chair," Marian Hobbs said. Jill is an experienced member having been with the Bioethics Council since it was established in December 2002 and her appointment ensures the Bioethics Council benefits from continuity and experience into the role.

"The new members, Professors Christopher Cunningham and Piri Sciascia are well-respected for their scientific leadership and significant knowledge in tikanga Maori, Maori development, ethics, culture and spiritual values. "Professor Christopher Cunningham has a doctorate in chemistry and good experience in Maori health and science while Piri Sciascia has great depth and knowedge in Maori arts and culture as well as experience in high-level government process. "The contribution of the members who left in ApriI is greatly appreciated – Sir Paul Reeves for his leadership and mana, Professor Gary Hook for his insight and scientific knowledge, and Cherryl Smith for her understanding and commitment to Maori aspirations."

The Bioethics Council was established following a recommendation from the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Genetic Modifiication. The Bioethics Council is a ministerial advisory body on cultural, ethical and spiritual aspects of biotechnology.

The Bioethics Council has recently held a series of dialogue sessions and hui around the country on the transfer of 'human genes' to other organisms. A report on this work is expected to be released later this month.

ENDS

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