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An unhealthy disrespect for democracy

9 December, 2003

An unhealthy disrespect for democracy

Green MP Sue Kedgley is appalled that the Health Minister has refused to listen to the unanimous verdict of the health select committee and keep control of New Zealand's dietary supplement industry on this side of the Tasman.

Quizzed by Ms Kedgley in Parliament today, the Associate Health Minister refused to revisit the decision to proceed with establishing a trans-Tasman therapeutic products agency, despite the unanimous rejection of that course by the select committee, which included five labour MPs.

"The overwhelming suspicion is that the Minister made up her mind to surrender control of this $200 million industry to Australia a long time ago," said Ms Kedgley, the Green health spokesperson.

"That explains why the agreement setting up this agency is being signed tomorrow, with the ink on the select committee report utterly rejecting this approach, barely dry.

"The Minister's contempt for the select committee process is a slap in the face to the MPs who studied this issue for a year and for the submitters who travelled from all over the country to give evidence.

"It is also an insult to every New Zealander who cares that decisions about their health are made by them, in their own country and not by Australians, in Australia."

Ms Kedgley pointed out that the Australian-based managing director of the new agency will have unprecedented powers, far in excess of any New Zealand public servant, including the authority to set regulations without any recourse to the New Zealand parliament.

ENDS

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