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Broad Support For Protecting Consumer Choice

2 May 2002

Growing momentum to protect New Zealand consumers from draconian Australian rules on dietary supplements emerged at Parliament today.

“It is gratifying that Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum are lining up to ensure that New Zealand consumers continue to have access to the dietary supplements of their choice,” said Gary Mabey, Joint Co-ordinator of Citzens for Health Choices.

At a briefing at Parliament today, three political parties – ACT, New Zealand First and the Greens – opposed moves by the New Zealand Government to regulate dietary supplements under a proposed Trans-Tasman Therapeutic Goods Agency.

The Government is to release a discussion document this month on the agency, which would have the power to make and enforce regulations on medicines, medical devices and dietary supplements. Its regulations would be binding in New Zealand and Australia.

Under the proposal, the Minister of Health would hand over her control to an unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat based in Australia, Mr Mabey said.

The proposal is “a sell-out to Australian industry and heavy-handed regulation,” Mr Shirley said. “It creates expensive red tape for dietary supplements.”

Green MP Sue Kedgley said it was important to protect and enhance consumer safety, but the proposal was “an absurd and idiotic way to go about it”. She added: “It is a scandalous undermining of our sovereignty.”

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters said that his caucus “is firmly opposed to any harmonisation of therapeutic goods between New Zealand and Australia… The New Zealand Government should not be led by the decisions of Australia or any other country. Rather, it should make decisions on fundamental issues such as health solely in the best interest of New Zealanders.”

Note: Citizens for Health Choices is a nationwide group comprising consumers of dietary supplements, industry representatives and natural health practitioners. It has been working for more than 10 years to retain informed consumer choice on dietary supplements.

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