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Drop diet supps from trans-Tasman agency: Greens

12 December 2005

Drop diet supps from trans-Tasman agency, say Greens

The Government won't have the numbers to get the Trans-Tasman Therapeutics Goods Agency through Parliament as long as dietary supplements are part of its brief, Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"The truth is that regulating dietary supplements through the proposed agency is not in New Zealand's interest and that's why the proposal doesn't have sufficient political support in Parliament.

"It would involve our Parliament giving up its jurisdiction over these areas, to join a highly bureaucratic system with huge compliance costs. Those added costs would increase the price of dietary supplements, put most of our small dietary supplement companies out of business and reduce consumers' choice.

"Annette King promised the Australians she would have legislation setting up the trans-Tasman regulator through our Parliament six months ago so that the new agency could start up on 1 July this year. She wasn't able to keep her promise because she couldn't get sufficient support for it.

"She still doesn't have enough political support, and so the agency has now been delayed indefinitely.

"It's time the Minister was honest and acknowledged she doesn't have sufficient numbers to get it through Parliament, and dropped the contentious proposal of regulating low risk dietary supplements through the agency, rather than pretending that the delay is due to the need for yet more consultation.

"That would break the stalemate, and mean we can begin work on a sensible, New Zealand-based scheme to improve the regulation of dietary supplements."

"I am concerned that while the Government continues to act as if it does have sufficient political support, vast amounts of money continue to be spent on endless trans-Tasman meetings and new appointments are being made as if the agency is just around the corner, when it obviously isn't," Ms Kedgley says.

ENDS

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