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Friday, March 6

Maori Party must speak out against scrapping of Bioethics Council

Labour environment spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says the Maori Party must speak out urgently against the planned scrapping of the Bioethics Council which is likely to happen on Monday.

“Establishing the council was one of the most important and fundamental recommendations in the 2001 report of the Royal Commission on Genetic Engineering,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“Since it was set up it has become of great importance to Maori as an avenue for Maori views on genetic modification to be heard.

“But now the cabinet is on the brink of scrapping the council. The issue is on the cabinet table for Monday, but the Maori Party, one of National’s confidence and supply partners, has said nothing on the matter,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“I cannot understand the Maori Party’s silence on such an important issue. I would have expected the Maori Party to be a staunch defender of the council, especially since axing the council is going to save the Government such a paltry amount of money.

“Total budget for the council is just $1.3 million. The Government’s razor gang should not be targeting a group that offers such an important safeguard to New Zealanders, and does at such a very modest cost.”

Nanaia Mahuta said Labour had implemented most of the Royal Commission’s recommendations when in government.

“This was one of the most fundamental of them, and I find it appalling that the Maori Party can stand by and let the council be scrapped without uttering even the feeblest of complaints.”