INDEPENDENT NEWS

Government sneaks Bill into House - Health Trust

Published: Wed 6 Dec 2006 10:33 AM
Media release
For immediate release 06 December 06
Government sneaks Bill into House to avoid public backlash
Despite unprecedented political opposition, the Government has forged ahead with the Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill, sneaking it into the House without any of the usual fanfare.
In 2003 Minister Annette King signed a Treaty with Australia agreeing to hand control of the natural health products sector over to an Australian regulatory body, however she needs to pass enabling legislation in New Zealand.
Twice the Bill has been thrown out by select committees, but the Government is determined to ram it through Parliament, said consumer group the New Zealand Health Trust.
“Late tonight the Bill was finally tabled, with no announcement from the Minister,” said Amy Adams spokesperson for the Trust. “Clearly the Minister is keen to sneak it into Parliament under cover of the silly season, in the hope that she can keep it under the public’s radar.”
The NZ Health Trust conducted research earlier this year which showed 62% of New Zealanders used natural health products. “This Bill represents a massive and irreparable change to the way we make rules for New Zealand dietary supplements,” Mrs Adams said.
“Under the proposed regime, well over a million New Zealand consumers would find the choice of products adversely affected, and experience cost increases. So you can see why the Government is trying to sneak this into the House without any fuss - they don’t want the public to know.”
All the political parties except Labour have pledged their opposition the proposal, despite some intense lobbying by Australian and New Zealand officials.
“It is a very serious thing to hand sovereignty over your country over to another nation,” Mrs Adams said. “And all the other political parties see the sense in making sure the sector is regulated from New Zealand – not as a minor state of Australia.”
ENDS

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