Home Systems biology Greens called to reinstate Toi Te Taiao – The Bioethics Council

Greens called to reinstate Toi Te Taiao – The Bioethics Council


The Green Party is called upon to support a new Toi Te Taiao with an expanded role to include other emerging technologies; Synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and geoengineering.

In an open letter to Green Party members and MPs, former Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons is credited for her policy work that ensures strong regulation of genetic engineering in Aotearoa. [1]

Jeanette advocated for the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification which led to the establishment of Toi Te Taiao – The Bioethics Council.

Toi Te Taiao was tasked with helping Aotearoa navigate the ethical issues of genetic engineering, including the use of human genes, but their work ended when Toi Te Taiao was abolished. [2]

Today, a new Technology Ethics Council is needed to address innovation challenges including “easy and cheap” gene editing, synthetic biology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and geo- engineering.

“These require deep and ongoing public engagement. The abolition of Toi Te Taiao has deprived us of a source of collective wisdom and genuine engagement with tangata whenua and civil society,” said Jon Carapiet. spokesperson for GE-Free NZ.

Another recommendation from the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification was that farm animals should not be genetically modified as “bioreactors” for the mass production of pharmaceuticals. But the Productivity Commission’s recent call for deregulation opens up the possibility of unacceptable cruelty to animals by GE already seen in AgResearch experiments. [3]

“When Jeanette began her work, it was knowing that commercial interests were already keen to commercialize these powerful emerging technologies,” said Jon Carapiet.

“To maintain public trust, an independent body, such as Toi Te Taiao, is needed to balance the voices of vested interests in both industry and academia.”

“Strict liability is also needed to rein in the risk appetite prevalent in the biotech and innovation sectors, driven by intellectual property, not the public interest.”

As technologies challenge the integrity of natural systems and of humanity itself, a technology ethics council is needed to guide how society manages risk while exploring opportunities and regulation in the workplace. public interest.

The medical use of GEs in humans shows benefits and there is a review of regulatory parameters in biomedicine. But the prospect of human genetic engineering also poses the threat of eugenics to humanity, including rainbow and LGBTQIA+ disabled communities, which must be addressed.

These are complex and ongoing issues to manage. Having an independent and ethical compass to guide us is vital.

[1] Open Letter to the Green Party – The Bioethics Council
[2] https://pep.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/human-genes.pdf


© Scoop Media