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NZ First stakes reputation on legislation

NZ First stakes reputation on controversial legislation

New Zealand First's reputation will be in tatters on Tuesday if Winston Peters reneges on his public commitment to stop the establishment of a trans-Tasman regulatory agency that includes dietary supplements.

Just over a month ago Peters promised on Radio New Zealand: 'For those people that believe in natural medicines, they (NZ First) have stopped the therapeutic bill that would have included all natural medicines being run by a trans Tasman agency. That's stopped.'

"However, the Greens understand that far from stopping the bill, New Zealand First will be supporting it when it is introduced into Parliament next Tuesday," Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

The omnibus Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill, tabled late last night, would establish the long-mooted Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Authority (previously known as the Trans-Tasman Therapeutic Goods Authority or TTTGA). This agency would have the power to regulate medicines, medical devices and complementary health-care products.

"This legislation will effectively hand over New Zealand's sovereignty in the area of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and dietary supplements to an off-shore body, based in Canberra, set up under Australian law and dominated by Australians. Not only will we effectively cede our sovereignty over this issue to some offshore entity, but it will hobble the New Zealand natural health industry, and regulate low risk dietary supplements as if they were drugs, using an inappropriate pharmaceutical model, and reduce consumer choice" Ms Kedgley says.

"If this is the Government's parting Christmas gift to New Zealanders before winding up for the year, it is a pretty awful one," Ms Kedgley says.

"Introducing it in the week before Christmas and without any warning is characteristic of the high-handed way this Government has tried to push this agency through.

"The existing Australian Therapeutic Goods Authority is draconian, with excessive compliance costs, that are crippling the natural health industry there and driving many businesses offshore. Why would we want to replicate this in New Zealand?

"The Green Party will be vigorously opposing this legislation when it comes up in the House," Ms Kedgley says.


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