INDEPENDENT NEWS

Maori Should be Supportive of GM Development

Published: Wed 24 Oct 2001 02:04 PM
Maori Should be Supportive of GM Development
Wednesday 24 Oct 2001 Gerry Eckhoff Press Releases -- Environment & Conservation
The Government's Maori caucus will do Maori a grave disservice if it blocks the cautious introduction of GM field trials, ACT Environment Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.
"As a nation we are already killing ourselves in massive numbers with bad dietary habits, the obesity which follows and the resulting serious health problems.
"Maori are badly over-represented in the statistics.
"Genetic Modification offers the opportunity to exclude harmful substances from foods. It also opens up a whole range of opportunities for improved medical treatment.
"In addition, many Maori show a genetic pre-disposition to a range of things such as pancreatic cancer, eye defects and even complaints such as club foot.
"Research, involving genetic modification would enable identification of the causes of these problems and through the research cures could be developed.
"GM gives the potential to achieve better outcomes for people.
"The Government's Maori caucus needs to look to the future - not the past - and see how the health and welfare of all New Zealanders - but Maori in particular - could be improved.
"There has been enough dithering by the Government. It has to accept that it can't rely on its beloved opinion polls and it can't please everyone with its decision. At the end of the day the opportunities provided by GM are too big for us to turn our backs on," Gerry Eckhoff said.
For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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