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King Misleading Public Over Dietary Supplements

8 July 2002

Green MP Sue Kedgley said the Health Minister Annette King was misleading the public about her Government's proposal to set up a trans-Tasman agency to regulate therapeutic products.

Ms King issued a statement today claiming that there would be no loss of sovereignty for New Zealand if we became part of the new agency.

"This is patently untrue," Ms Kedgley said.

"The agency will have its headquarters in Canberra, will be set up under Australian legislation, will be staffed primarily by Australians and will operate under highly restrictive and bureaucratic Australia rules."

"The powers that are presently exercised by the Minister of Health in this area will be delegated to the Managing Director of the new agency. And this unelected and unaccountable official will be able to change rules without any recourse to the New Zealand Parliament.

"If that is not a loss of sovereignty, I don't know what is," Ms Kedgley said.

Ms Kedgley said that that if a New Zealander objected to decisions or rules of the new agency, the only recourse they would have would be to mount an expensive challenge in the High Court.

"That is absurd and unfair.

"The Minister of Health says the new agency is needed because many supplements make unsubstantiated claims. If that is the case (and I have no evidence for it) her Ministry has the powers right now, under New Zealand legislation, to prosecute offending companies.

"There is absolutely no need to give up control of the entire industry to an Australian-based agency, and there is absolutely no support from ordinary New Zealanders for doing so," she said.

"I call upon the Minister to drop this absurd proposal and listen to the voices of ordinary New Zealanders."


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