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Supplements sector kicked in the guts by Minister

4 December 2003 For immediate release

Supplements sector feels "kicked in the guts" by arrogant Minister

The dietary supplement sector is reeling after news that the Minister of Health had sidelined the Health Select Committee and given control of the industry away to a largely Australian government agency.

Answering a question in the House today, Health Minister Annette King admitted that Government had already decided on the issue and was preparing to sign an agreement with Australia next week.

"We're absolutely gutted that the Minister has done this," said NZ Health Trust spokesperson Amy Adams. "The Select Committee had spent eight months taking public submissions and was due to report any day, but Annette King has arrogantly gone ahead without even waiting to see what her colleagues had to say on the issue."

Despite near-unanimous industry opposition, Government intended to;

- To take dietary products (all vitamins, minerals and herbal products) out of the "foods' classification and put the under "pharmaceutical drugs'

- To give control of regulation of the industry to the re-named Therapeutic Goods Administration, a spectacularly unsuccessful Australian bureaucracy.

"We have evidence showing this will cost consumers choice, increase compliance costs and see NZ jobs disappear," Ms Adams said. "We feel really betrayed by Annette King and her officials throughout the whole process."

Ms Adams said that a lot of people who made submissions on this bill were "little guys' who have never been involved in the political process before. "They are bitterly disappointed and see this as a real kick in the guts for what is currently an exciting sector with lots of potential."

"What this is telling them is that Government doesn't care about what they think. Ministers have already made up their minds, but they pretend they are willing to listen."

ENDS


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