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Bioethics Council Rejects Govt Duplication Claim

16 March 2009


Bioethics Council Rejects Government’s Duplication Claim

It is with regret that Toi te Taiao: the Bioethics Council announces it has been disestablished by the Government. Since its inception in 2002, the Council has issued major reports on Pre-Birth Testing, Animal-to-Human Transplantation, and the Use of Human Genes in Other Organisms. The Council was heavily involved in decisions about research on human embryos and has given advice on legislation and ministry policies on many aspects of biotechnology. These were broad topics, not falling neatly into the areas of particular ministries or committees. We are pleased that much of the Council's advice has been followed.

Deliberating with the people of New Zealand has been at the heart of the Council's way of working. As we have learned over the years of our operation, and as other countries are saying more and more, government policies are fairer, more democratic, and more successful when citizens are properly informed and given the chance to shape what government does. As an independent review of the Council found, no other body in government had the broad range and deliberative focus of the Bioethics Council. What we did was unique. We hope the Government will in some form pursue broad and open deliberation.

Thousands of New Zealanders have generously given their time and effort to think through with us and each other the complex and difficult problems raised by modern biotechnology. Some of them were from interested organizations or other branches of government, but most were not. Some of them were generous enough to deliberate numerous times in the course of our life, and we were privileged to build continuing relationships with people from groups that the government often does not reach well. We want to thank all of those who have worked with us through deliberation to advise the government.

E kore e ngaro he takere waka nui.

Toi te Taiao: the Bioethics Council


ENDS

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