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Industry Poised to Withdraw from Ministerial Inqui

The healthcare industry is gravely concerned about the influence of the Ministry of Health's role in distorting the make-up of the group who will undertake the Ministerial inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the imposition of warning labels on bee products.

Despite promises that Industry would be consulted, the Associate Minister of Health, Hon Tuariki Delamere, continues to refuse to listen to industry's concerns about the make-up of the Inquiry group. Even the terms of reference published by the Minister have been changed with no consultation and no notification. This has been typical of industry's experience during this whole sorry saga. Industry finds this continual shifting of the goal posts and apparent abuse of power totally unacceptable.

Ron Law, Executive Director of the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA) whose complaint about the warning labels was upheld by the Regulations Review Select Committee, says that nothing has changed. Eighteen months into this sorry saga and the bee industry is still being stung by officialdom.

The Ministry of Health is trying to stack the Inquiry group with its own medical advisers. Ron Law is at a loss to understand how the very institution being investigated is able to dictate the make-up of the Inquiry despite the Minister's unconvincing claims that he is leading the process.

Contradictory statements from the Minister have left Industry with little choice. Ron Law says that the NNFA has written to both Mr Delamere and the Chairman of the Regulations Review Select Committee, the Rt Hon Jonathon Hunt, on behalf of the dietary supplement, bee and health practitioner industries expressing industry's grave concerns about the apparent lack of transparency, lack of objectivity and lack of equity.

Despite the Select Committee finding that the Ministry lacked scientific evidence, failed to utilize risk assessment methodology and abused its power in imposing the regulations, and despite the resignation of the Director General of Public Health, nothing appears to have changed.

"Unless the Minister ensures that a level playing field is established and industry is consulted regarding the make-up of the committee then we will have little choice but to withdraw from the charade," says Ron Law.


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