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Maori concerns about GM get serious attention

Media release from the Alliance Party

Immediate Release, 30 October 2001

Maori concerns about GM finally get serious attention

Willie Jackson, leader of Mana Motuhake and Alliance MP, is pleased to announce a win for Maori in the Genetic Modification debate, fought for by the Alliance/Mana Motuhake within the coalition.

"The Alliance has insisted that we review the whole role of Maori and Maori issues within the GM context and we have ensured that while this work is being done over the next two years there is no possibility of GM material escaping into the environment.

"I welcome the establishment of Toi to Taiao: the Bioethics Council, including Tangata Whenua representation, which is will be set up to consider cultural, ethical and spiritual issues. This was a recommendation of the Royal Commission Genetic Modification and something the Alliance and Mana Motuhake have pushed for.

"I have every confidence that still further action to address Maori issues will be announced in the next few days. This is likely to include strengthening of Section 8 of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act, relating to the Treaty of Waitangi.

"It is now imperative that we address the Wai 262 and 740 claims relating to conserving our native flora and fauna. The claims have been before the Waitangi Tribunal for too long and the Tribunal has been underfunded.

"Moves are being made to address cultural and intellectual property rights and gene patenting issues. Again these are issues which the Alliance and Mana Motuhake have been fighting for. An announcement will be made in the next few days on these issues.

"The Alliance and Mana Motuhake would not agree to any experimentation that could compromise the bio-integrity of our environment, therefore we have argued, and got agreement for, rules which ensure absolute containment of research in the lab and field.

"Finally, the Royal Commission found that Maori rights and concerns haven't been adequately addressed in GM decision-making up until now. This was not news to us because it has been clear for years now that GM regulators haven't properly considered the Treaty. The current laws established by National need serious work, said Willie Jackson MP.

ENDS

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