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Youth Forum Attendees Announced

Wellington - 16 February 2001: Letters of acceptance were today mailed to 100 young New Zealanders advising them of their successful registration to attend the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification's Youth Forum.

Among the 100 successful applicants are 20 youth who have won a free trip to Wellington on 5 March 2001.

The 20 were selected on the basis of their 500-word response to the essay topic "What future does genetic modification have in New Zealand?"

"We have been delighted with the response and the calibre of the essays we have received. The competition judge found it difficult to make the top 20 selection," says Commission chairman Sir Thomas Eichelbaum.

"All the essays showed a real depth of thought and concern about the issues surrounding genetic modification and also asked plenty of questions. The winning essays were those that presented a fresh, personal voice as well as a succinct expression of ideas and some good detail in a well developed argument."

The 20 winning essays were written by 16 to 18 year olds located in Auckland (6), Christchurch (2), Hawkes Bay (3), Otago (2), Waikato (4), Bay of Plenty (1), Northland (1) and Wanganui (1).

Copies of the top essays will be posted on the Commission's website.

Almost 200 New Zealand youth expressed interest in attending the one-day forum at Te Papa.

The Wellington, Hutt Valley, Kapiti Coast, Wairarapa, Manawatu and Marlborough regions will also be well represented at the Youth Forum as registrations from youths in these centres have been accepted on a first in, first served basis.

"We look forward to meeting these young New Zealanders and involving them in this important decision-making process."

ENDS

The Royal Commission on Genetic Modification was established by Order in Council on 8 May 2000 and is chaired by Sir Thomas Eichelbaum. The other members of the Commission are Dr Jacqueline Allan, Dr Jean Fleming and the Rt Rev Richard Randerson. The Commission is required to report by 1 June 2001.

Please note: For further information, please contact: Sarah Adamson, Media Relations Officer, phone: 04 495 9151 or 021 499 510.


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