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Government responding to hazardous substances rep.

25 June 2003 Media Statement

Government responding to hazardous substances report

The Hazardous Substances Strategy released today by Environment Minister Marian Hobbs will address cost and innovation issues identified in a survey of businesses, Associate Commerce Minister John Tamihere says.

Mr Tamihere released a report commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Development and prepared by the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research, which looked at the impact of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) legislation on business costs and innovation.

Mr Tamihere said the report should be considered indicative rather than definitive because of the survey's low response rate. When the survey was taken, there had been 210 applications to Environmental Risk Management Authority, but only 39 organisations, accounting for 68 applications, responded.

The survey's key conclusions under the current HSNO regime were that:
- Applicants' effort and costs were disproportionate to the risk being controlled and were considered high, particularly when compared to other countries
- Costs of preparing the application outweighed ERMA costs
- Application costs fell disproportionately on small, niche applications

Mr Tamihere said it was pleasing the Hazardous Substances Strategy addressed impacts identified by the NZIER survey.

The strategy includes steps to reduce applicants' costs in providing information,
the development of a new, quick and largely automatic low-risk pathway to reduce applicants' costs commensurate with the level of risk, and generic approvals for groups of similar products.

These measures are expected to significantly reduce costs and impediments to innovation for businesses, Mr Tamihere said.


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