Website editor’s note: When health freedom in NZ was threatened by the previous Labour-led government’s desire to sign NZ up to an Australian-based regulator (which would have threatened New Zealanders enviable record of access to a large range of natural health products), Dave Sloan and the NZ Health Trust (NZHT) helped to provide leadership on this important health freedom issue.
New Zealanders’ health freedom is currently again threatened by the Natural Health a Products Bill. (NB: For more information about this and to sign a petition, please go to this link.)
In the message below, Dave Sloan explains some of the history of how the Natural Health and Supplementary Products Bill came about, why the NZ Health Trust opposes it and what you can do about this threat to our health freedom.
Please note that since Dave Sloan wrote this message, submissions on the Natural Health Products bill have closed.
if you would like to help with the campaign against this bill, please go to this link for the latest update. Thank you.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT THE NATURAL HEALTH PRODUCTS BILL FROM THE NEW ZEALAND HEALTH TRUST
The natural health product industry is facing a significant threat to its viability in the form of the Natural Health Products Bill.
As many will know, from around 2003 to 2008 industry and consumers successfully lobbied to prevent natural health products being regulated by an agency to be known as the Australian New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency (ANZTPA).
In 2007 I was told by Tony Ryall (then National MP) to get industry to develop an agreed model of regulation for natural health products and to go back to him when he was the Minister of Health with a proposal. After enormous amount of time, effort and cost, a Joint Industry Proposal (JIP) was completed (as promised) and provided to government in February 2009.
The JIP is a simple notification scheme of products and ingredients that permitted verifiable claims to be made and adopted a risk-proportionate approach to the manufacture and sale of products.
The expectation was that once National was in Government, a model of regulation based on the JIP would become law within the first 100 days.
This did not happen and the Natural Health Products Bill (introduced in September 2011) bears no resemblance to the JIP. Rather it looks very similar to the Australian scheme that so many fought so hard and so long against.
The Bill is bad regulation and will damage industry and consumer choice.
The Bill is draconian and heavy-handed legislation and fails to take a risk-proportionate approach to what are very low-risk products.
(Ed note: For an example of the safety record of natural health products, please see this link.)
It imposes significant new compliance costs on industry with no commensurate health or safety benefits to consumers.
The Bill is essentially a combination of the existing New Zealand restrictions with the worst of Australian and Canadian systems.
A product can only be lawfully sold if every ingredient in it is on the permitted substances list. Every product must be notified (annually and on payment of a fee) to a new regulatory agency known as the Natural Health Products Regulatory Authority. The Bill restricts the types of claims that can be made, and requires that information about health benefit claims are available on an internet site. The Bill requires all manufacturers to be licensed and to comply with a Code of Manufacturing Practice.
The Minister of Health has claimed that the Bill is a “light touch” and regulation proportionate to risk. He is wrong.
A light touch regime would not require common ingredients such as water, safe flavourings and additives used in every day foods to be approved by a regulator. A “light touch” would not require approval for a particular type of honey. The proposed list of permitted substances includes manuka and kanuka honey but no other types of honey.
A number of products will inevitably be required to come off the market once the Bill is passed because not all their ingredients will be on the permitted substances list.
This Bill is a text-book example of nanny-state legislation and is the type of “loopy law” that Paula Bennett is trying to get rid of.
NZHT has at its own expense obtained independent reports from TDB Consulting and Castalia about the economic and regulatory impacts of the Bill. These independent consultants confirm that the Bill is inconsistent with good regulatory principles, and imposes significant and unjustified costs on the industry. Click here to go to the NZ Health trust website and read copies of the economic impact reports.
Make a submission to the Ministry of Health by 5 MARCH 2016
The Ministry of Health is consulting on certain aspects of the natural health products regime that are to be contained in regulations. NB: Submissions (for the first part of the consultation – Ed) are due by Friday 4 March 2016. (Ed note: The original submission date for this part of the consultation was February 5; the deadline was extended.)
(Ed note: Please go to this link on our website for information on how to write a submission.)
Because the Bill has not been passed into law this consultation process is an opportunity to tell the Ministry that the Bill needs be binned.
Click here for further information about the effects of the Bill and how you can make a submission on the draft regulations.
Ed note: This concludes the message from Dave Sloan.
If you have not already signed the petition against the Natural Health and Supplementary Products bill please go to this link of our website or directly to the petition website at the link below.
To keep up to date with developments on the health freedom issue, please sign up to the email list on www.healthfreedom.co.nz
To sign up to the newsletter for the NZ Health trust please go to this link of their website: http://www.nzhealthtrust.co.nz/newsletter.html
NB: The NZ Journal of Natural Medicine frequently includes articles relating to freedom of choice in healthcare Our online shop, where you can buy printed and PDF copies of our magazine is here.
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