Health Freedom Report #1

(First published in the first issue of The New Zealand Journal of Natural Medicine (May-July 2011)

We are fortunate in New Zealand to have the choice of a side range of over-the-counter nutritional supplements, herbal medicines and other health-promoting products.  We also have to choice of being able to consult natural health practitioners who practise a wide range of modalities.

This situation is not some sort of happy accident.  Over the past couple of decades the New Zealand natural health community has survived many attempts to curtail and control it.  These efforts can be viewed as part of a world wide campaign orchestrated by Big Pharma which has been actively suppressing practitioners and products that compete with the drug-based model of conventional allopathic medical treatment.

In the USA attempts to suppress non-drug healing began in earnest in the 1930s, when the American Medical Association (AMA) under the leadership of the infamous Dr Morris Fishbein first tried to buy up Harry Hoxsey’s herbal-based cancer treatment formulae, then when he refused to sell them to him, harassed him with numerous prosecutions for “practising medicine without a license”.  The life-saving work of Dr Max Gerson, pioneer of nutritional therapies for cancer and scientist Dr Royal Raymond Rife (also working in the 1930s and 40s) was similarly disparaged, ignored and suppressed.

In New Zealand the Tohunga Suppression Act of 1907 had a detrimental effect on the practice of traditional Maori medicine which included the use of medicinal native plants (rongoa) and prayer (karakia) resulting in the loss of much valuable traditional knowledge.

Fast forward to modern New Zealand and in 2003 then Minister of Health Annette King signed a treaty with Australia pledging to establish a joint trans-Tasman agency (based on the corporate model established by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration  or TGA) to regulate both countries nutritional, herbal and associated products.  Within Australia, the TGA was already renowned for imposing unnecessary bureaucracy and fees on producers of natural health products, which drove up prices and badly affected many businesses.

In 2005 Annette King introduced legislation that proposed that New Zealand should join  together with Australia in a Joint Trans-Tasman agency based on the TGA model.  The bill to establish the Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency   (ANZTPA)  which would have essentially put New Zealand health products regulation in the hands of Australia-based  bureaucrats many of whom had ties with Big Pharma.  The bill – which would have reduced choice of products, driven up prices and probably forced many of the small  natural health businesses to the wall – became known as the “Anti-Vitamin Bill” and was  vehemently opposed by members of the public.  Subsequently, the National Party, NZ First, Green Party and Independent MP Philip Taito Field refused to support the bill and the Labour government was forced to shelve the legislation.

However, with the election of the current National-led government, bureaucrats in the back room were at it again, producing a discussion document that proposed a very restrictive framework for the regulation of New Zealand natural health products.  This produced a vigorous response from health freedom groups.

The New Zealand Journal of Natural Medicine will endeavour to keep readers updated on health freedom issues in New Zealand and around the world.  However, given that we are a quarterly it is possible that we will not always be able to inform you of important developments in a timely manner.

The following New Zealand organisations have played a leading role in the protection of New Zealander’s health freedoms.  If you have internet access, please visit their websites and sign on to their mailing lists so that you can be kept informed of important events in New Zealand.  If you are able to donate some of your time or money to these organisations, to promote the cause of health freedom, so much the better.

Health Freedom NZ

Health Freedom NZ is an incorporated charitable trust dedicated to preserving the rights of New Zealanders to enjoy access to natural and traditional health care options as well as freedom from forced medication.  It played an important role in the defeat of the “Anti Vitamin Bill” and also maintains links with international health freedom organisations.


New Zealand Health Trust

The New Zealand Health Trust has been working in the health freedom area since 2002 and played an important role in the defeat of ANZTPA  and is “committed to ensuring high quality and complete information is available to New Zealanders on issues affecting their health and health choices.”


New Health New Zealand

This is the sister organisation of the New Zealand Health Trust. According to its website “New Health New Zealand designed to ensure the consumer comes first in all health regulation. It has been created based on a series of guiding principles which are entrenched to ensure New HEALTH stays focused on its key objectives.”