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Hazardous substances strategy a huge relief

Hazardous substances strategy a huge relief

The Government announcement yesterday of the strategy for improving hazardous substances law responds to the deep rooted concerns expressed by industry for the past six years, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

"The announcement of the strategy for hazardous substances is a huge relief," said Bruce Goldsworthy, EMA's Manager of Manufacturing Services.

"Manufacturers, and chemical suppliers including those for farmers, are dancing on the shop floor over this announcement.

"Finally we have an official acknowledgement that the HSNO 'Act is not achieving its purpose with respect to hazardous substances'.

"For about six years we advised both this Government and the previous National Government that this was the case.

"We pointed out the Act is a barrier to the innovation and growth that Government is counting on to grow New Zealanders' standard of living.

"Already the opportunity cost has been substantial in the three years since the hazardous substances provisions were enacted. We know several companies that have taken their research and development projects offshore. New products and materials have been denied to New Zealand consumers and industry.

"We hosted numerous seminars with ERMA to explain industry's obligations under the Act but stakeholders departed little the wiser because its procedures were too complex and costly to implement.

"Government in general and Environment Minister Hobbs in particular are to be congratulated for grasping the nettle on the issue.

"Industry is appreciative of the new sense of haste with the law, especially since it will be amended this year on useful points, and that overseas data will be considered in support of notifications of hazardous substances.

"We're looking forward to the user friendly guidance coming up and the comprehensive review discussion paper in November.

"The low number of responses to the survey results on the HSNO Act released by Minister of Small Business John Tamihere says more about the complexity of the application process and avoidance of the law than about the numbers of new substances and materials under development."

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