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God, justice, medicine and science gather

GENETIC modification will play a huge role in the 21st century no-one doubts that - so it was appropriate that God, justice, medicine and science was represented on the august Royal Commission that met this week in Wellington.

Commission chair The Rt Hon Thomas Eichelbaum GBE and members The Rt Reverend Richard Randerson, Bishop of the Anglican Church, Dr Jean Fleming and Dr Jaqueline Allen GP met look at and report on options - now and in the future - to address genetic modification and any changes to legislative, regulatory, policy or institutional arrangements that may be need to deal with GM.

Bringing this high powered bunch down to earth and bringing the people to them not to deliver submissions but "rather to scope the questions to enable more focused submissions later on" was former Black Power spokesman Denis O'Reilly who co-coordinated the meeting at Wellington's Historic St James Theatre.

A man of many and varied talents O'Reilly had group sessions humming when SCOOP ventured into the hallowed old theatre which thespian atmosphere suited the important words being hurled across tables as members of the public came to grips with the ethical issues, global developments and strategic opportunities and issues of genetic modification.

These important questions were to the fore during Tuesday afternoon's discussions. It was all very cerebral stuff and Wellington's self-inflated rep of a city of intellect appeared correct as every table was taken with very serious looking individuals talking seriously about an issue obviously very important to them.

While nothing was officially 'formal' and in jargonese all that was happening was 'scoping' which we understand to mean researching and working on questions and submissions before issuing them.

Apparently all this 'scoping' is going to do a world of good and ensure the commission have serious, relevant and well thought out questions to consider when they meet on August 10 to hear formal applications from interested persons and then on to September 18 when public hearings will commence in Wellington.


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