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Fees And Compliance Of New Environment Law

Business Alarm Rising At Fees And Compliance Of New Environment Law

The fees and compliance costs of the hazardous substances part of the HSNO Act 1996 are so huge that the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) is making a last ditch plea for the Ministerial Panel on Business Compliance (the Alan Dunn panel) to review it before its enactment on July 2nd.

EMA has written to Mr Dunn, Commerce Minister Paul Swain, Environment Minister Marion Hobbs and other cabinet ministers asking for such a review.

"We are extremely concerned at the direct fees, other charges and enormous compliance burden of the new law, all of which will progressively rise over the next five years," said Bruce Goldsworthy, Director of Manufacturing for EMA.

"We urge Government to ask Mr Dunn's Panel to review the law before it is fully introduced. The extra $1million of funding for the Environment Risk Management Authority (ERMA) announced last week will make not a scrap of difference to the costs businesses face in trying to observe this law.

"For most businesses the fees about to be charged for importing or manufacturing a new substance are entirely new and usually will start at $2000 per application for substances with a low level of risk, and $5000 for higher risk substances.

"Anyone at all can request a hearing on any approved substance and these will cost from between $9000 to $15,000 a day.

"The elaborate recording and registering processes required mean our industries must devote themselves to developing vast new control systems.

"In the words of Dr Bas Walker, chief executive of ERMA, the law is 'complex and rigorous, and likely to both increase the cost of regulatory compliance and make new technical and administrative demands on those business affected.

" 'HSNO is much more comprehensive and technically demanding than the regime it will replace... compliance costs will undoubtedly increase.'

"His remarks do not overstate the case.

"Dr Walker goes onto say the regulations of the Act 'will be the largest single package of regulations ever produced in New Zealand.' *

"The industries affected will include virtually every business that uses any chemical substance whether a solvent, adhesive, paint, ink, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, fertiliser, polymer and so on, as they will face higher costs as a result of this law.

"However the law impacts directly on those businesses which import or manufacture chemical substances or substances used as ingredients for other processes.

"In addition to the fees and charges, compliance costs and business responsibilities there is also the experimental nature of the law. We know of no other jurisdiction in the world attempting to manage hazardous substances in the way New Zealand is.

"It's the old story of New Zealand being a guinea pig and endeavouring to lead the world.

"Even more worrying for the future of our environment and the reduction of carbon emissions is that the HSNO law could halt or slow down the use of new materials upon which eco sustainable innovation and the development of new energy saving technology depends.

"Our industry's competitiveness will be sorely tested by the HSNO law and our economic growth is likely to be compromised by it.

"Nevertheless to try and clarify company obligations under the law, and to minimise its negative impacts, EMA is endorsing a series of workshops by ERMA over the next month."

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