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GM Royal Commission On The Internet

advising the National Party on environment, culture and heritage issues

3 May, 2000



State Services Minister Trevor Mallard has been challenged to apply the new e-government vision he announced this week to informing New Zealanders about the proceedings of the forthcoming Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.

"This new e-government concept is great, and what better chance to put it to immediate good use than the Commission on GM," said Terry Dunleavy, national convener of Bluegreens, the organisation which advises the National Party on environmental, cultural and heritage issues.

"Bluegreens fully supports the appointment of the Royal Commission to examine this vital but complex area of modern development. Thus far, the GM debate seems to have been confined to scientists who support its creative potential, and populist politicians who want to stop it in its tracks. We can think of no new development in modern times that promises such profound consequences for the earth and its inhabitants, but which is yet so widely misunderstood and misconstrued.

"There can be no doubt that the whole range of GM issues offers both advantages and disadvantages for mankind and our environments, and it is essential that ordinary people are given an opportunity to understand which is which. The hearings by the Royal Commission will necessarily take a long time and will range over a wide range of separate issues. Conventional print and electronic news media will not have the capacity to cover everything, but the internet offers the space, the immediacy and the wide public access necessary to inform the public of all sides of every issue.

"The proceedings of the GM Commission are an excellent opportunity to put the principles of e-government into effect. Bluegreens advocates allocation of sufficient funds to enable the Commission to establish its own website to which can be posted, as they occur, precise summaries of all submissions. Hopefully, opportunity would be provided for individual New Zealanders to email direct to the Commission submissions which could then be posted to the website for comment by others. more

"If genetic modification is to be a feature of the exciting future we face in the new century we have just entered, then let us bring its implications to all New Zealanders with the modern communications facilities offered on the internet," said Mr Dunleavy. "When he announced the concept this week, Mr Mallard said the e-government vision is to use information and communications technologies to provide better government services and information electronically, and to build a closer relationship between government and citizens. Here's an opportunity for Mr Mallard to put that vision into immediate practice."

E n d s

Contact details: National Convenor: Terry Dunleavy MBE, JP Tel (09) 486 3859 - Fax (09) 486 2341 - Mobile 025 836688 - Email: terry@winezeal.co.nz

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