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Greens Pleased Horomia Tackling Monocultural ERMA

Green Party Maori Affairs spokesperson Sue Bradford today said she was pleased the Minister of Maori Affais was moving to combat what she described as "worrying elements of monoculturalism" within the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA).

In response to an oral question from Ms Bradford in the House today Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said he would be holding discussions with the Minister of the Environment with the goal of giving policy direction to ERMA for the future handling of Maori concerns over genetic engineering.

Yesterday ERMA ignored submissions from Maori and the Authority's own Maori advisors in the decision to allow human genes to be inserted into a herd of cattle.

"I am pleased that Mr Horomia agrees with the Greens that ERMA does not have the necessary expertise to deal with the concerns of Maori regarding genetic engineering and we are pleased that he sees fit to do something about it," said Ms Bradford.

"Although it is too late for this particular decision we are hoping Mr Horomia will address ERMA's woeful inadequacy to consider cultural concerns.

The Greens are particularly concerned that ERMA - an organisation designed to deal with science and risk - have taken it upon themselves to define the term 'Taonga' and to decide that it does not include spiritual concerns when Maori have long been saying it does," said Ms Bradford.

"ERMA are not up to the task of ensuring Maori concerns are adequately represented in decisions regarding genetic engineering. Yesterday's decision is proof of that. The Greens are pleased that Mr Horomia appears to be taking swift action to correct a dreadful imbalance in ERMA's decision making process."

Ms Bradford said there was a clear obligation under Articles two and four of Te Tiriti O Waitangi for the Crown to respect Maori taonga and deeply held traditional spiritual values.

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