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Genes Experiments Should Be Defined As "High-Risk"

Call For Human Genes Experiments To Be Defined As "High-Risk"

Thursday November 1 2001

Media Release: Waikato Hapu Ngati Wairere

Ngati Wairere advocate Ms Chris Webster is calling for all experiments that involve the use of human genes to be expressly defined as "high risk" in the HSNO legislation. She appeared as an appellant on behalf of her Waikato Hapu Ngati Wairere in a recent High Court appeal, which determined that ERMA had failed to follow its own prescribed methodology.

"Ngati Wairere have been publicly rejecting the manipulation of human genes now for over 2 years but were forced into expensive and unnecessary court action because of significant difficulty with the present HSNO regime.

"The regime is convoluted and the poorly defined series of provisions in both the HSNO Act and the HSNO (Methodology) Order that govern ERMA¹s decision-making processes were exposed during the successful legal appeal.

"In recognition of present scientific, cultural and social uncertainties and concerns, GM field tests should continue to be banned where they involve human genes, sterility (including terminator) technologies, antibiotic marker resistance genes, herbicide resistant genes and cross-species genetic modifications.

"If these kinds of GM experiments are to be contemplated at all, they should expressly be defined as "high risk" experiments in the HSNO legislation.

"Subsequently approval should only be granted in the most exceptional of circumstances where there is substantial and significant benefit (in more than monetary terms) based on conclusive scientific evidence and no risk of adverse effects, Ms Webster says.

Ends.

Contact:

Ms CHRIS WEBSTER, Cell: 025 283 8986


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