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Seven new Ethics Committees established

14 December 2004

Seven new Ethics Committees established

Health Minister Annette King is pleased to announce the establishment of seven new Health and Disability Ethics Committees.

Ms King said ethics committees play a key independent role in assuring appropriate protection for research participants, and in ensuring there is good research available to promote new knowledge and a healthier community.

One of the new committees, the Multi-region Ethics Committee, will review national and multi-region research. The other six new regional ethics committees will review research to be carried out in their regions. There will be four regions, together covering the whole country, with two committees for each of the two busiest regions.

The new committees will be established under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000. Ms King says having the ethics committees established under statute provides a clear and secure source of public authority for the function of independent ethics committee review, and a clear framework for public accountability and transparency.

The Chairs of the seven new ethics committees announced today are:

Martin Tolich (Multi-region Ethics Committee) Tim Dare (Northern X) Paul Flanagan (Northern Y) Helen Colebrook (Central) Carolyn Mason (Upper Southern A) Gray Crawford (Upper Southern B) Jennifer Beck (Lower Southern)

Individual members are listed in the attached chart.

Ms King said there had been widespread interest in nominations for the new committees, and it was pleasing to see people were so willing to contribute their valuable time to the important work of ethics committees.

"The new committees contain a good mix of new members as well as members with previous ethics committee experience to ensure that expertise within the system will be retained and strengthened."

Ms King extended her appreciation to members of the committees being disestablished, for their support during the transition period and for the valuable contribution they had made to the ethical review of health research in New Zealand.

"The strengths of New Zealand's ethical review system, including in lay and local involvement, will be retained in the new arrangements."

ENDS

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