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GM Commission To Hold Public Scoping Meetings

ROYAL COMMISSION ON GENETIC MODIFICATION TO HOLD PUBLIC SCOPING MEETINGS

The Royal Commission on Genetic Modification is inviting interested groups and individuals to assist in determining the range of issues to be addressed by the Commission.

Scoping Meetings are to be held at the St James Theatre, Courtenay Place, Wellington from August 7 – 9, beginning at 9.30am each day. The meetings will conclude at midday on August 9.

Commission head Sir Thomas Eichelbaum said the Scoping Meetings would be conducted in the form of facilitated workshops, focussed on questions that were important to the genetic modification debate. These included questions on environmental, medical, ethical, cultural and economic issues.

“The questions will be discussed in a facilitated group setting, with everyone free to participate and contribute. We want to hear from a wide range of New Zealanders, whether they represent interested groups or have individual views to express. The Commission is not requiring formal submissions on the nature or form of the questions.”

Sir Thomas said the aim of the Scoping Meetings was to determine the range of issues and topics that the public wanted the Commission to consider.

“Before we start our public hearings in Wellington on September 18 we want to get a good feel for what the public wants us to focus on.

“We want to hear from everyone who wants to share their views on the issues. To enable people outside Wellington to have input, we are arranging electronic access to the Scoping Meetings that will ensure people’s views can be taken into account whether they are present or not. We’re suggesting that people without internet access at home consider using their local libraries to participate.”

A package of information relevant to the Scoping Meetings, including the Commission’s Terms of Reference, is available from the Commission (phone 04-4959151 or fax 04-4959153) or at its website www.gmcommission.govt.nz from July 31.

Announcing the Royal Commission in April, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said she wanted the inquiry to encourage a diverse range of people and groups to participate in the proceedings and present their views, to enable the Commission to reach sound and robust conclusions.

Former Chief Justice Sir Thomas Eichelbaum heads the four-person Commission. Other members are: Dr Jean Fleming, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology at Otago Medical School, who has a strong scientific background in gene technology; Rt Reverend Richard Randerson, Bishop of the Anglican Church, who brings a broad background in ethical issues to the Commission; and Dr Jacqueline Allan, an Auckland GP who brings an understanding of both medical and Maori issues to the Commission.

The Commission’s chief objective is to inquire into and report on the strategic options available to enable New Zealand to address genetic modification now and in the future. It may also recommend any changes in the current legislative, regulatory, policy or institutional arrangements for addressing genetic modification technologies and products in New Zealand.


Please note:

Reporters, photographers and television crews are welcome to attend the Scoping Meetings at the St James Theatre, Courtenay Place, Wellington. The first session will begin at 9.30am on Monday with a powhiri followed by the Commission’s Opening Statement.
A media conference will be held at the conclusion of the meetings on August 9.


For more information :
www.cabinet.govt.nz/minister/hobbs/genetics
www.gmcommission.govt.nz (from July 31)
Suzanne Pollard, Media Manager for the Royal Commission 025-2449335

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