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No Power to Intervene says Ministers

GE Free NZ Press Release 22 August 2002

No Power to Intervene says Ministers on delay for GE Cow Experiments.

The Minister in charge of Crown Research Institutes-Pete Hodgson- says he has no power to delay AgResearch's GE Cow experiments to allow Bio Ethics council Advice to be available to ERMA.

Mr Hodgson said the GE research was essentially "operational in nature," and for the CRI board to decide. Environment Minister Marion Hobbs was also unable to call in the decision so undermining the government's plan for Bio Ethics Council Advice to be included.

"My responsibilities as Minister for the Crown Research Institutes do not extend to operational matters, which by section 7(5) of the Crown Research Insiutes Act 1992, are required to be made under the authority of the Board of each CRI,' said Mr Hodgson in his written reply.

Mr Hodgson was responding to a request for the Minister to ask AgResearch to delay project GMD 02028 currently being decided by ERMA.

Public issues of major national policy and ethics are out of government control. the Board of the CRI are left in sole charge of a major strategic decision.

"ERMA have been specifically asked to work with AgResearch to delay the process so that the Bio Ethics Council can contribute, " says Jon Carapiet, a spokesperson for GE- Free NZ (in food and environment).

" Its a case of ERMA without the Ethics unless the application is declined".

Environment Minister Marion Hobbs was also unable to " call in " the application so that the Bio Ethics Council could give advice. After the 15-day period following lodgement of the application, the Minister had no control over the process.

"The Government is literally powerless to involve the Bio Ethics Council and has failed to secure a key recommendations of the Royal Commission on the most ethically contentious experiments imaginable".

ENDS

Media contact Jon Carapiet 09 815 3370


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