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Legislation proposed to fix interface problem

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

Progressive Leader

12 February 2008 Media Statement

Legislation proposed to fix interface problem

The Government is to introduce legislation to fix import law problems identified by the courts last year, Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton said today.

“The Court of Appeal judgment on MAF’s Australian honey import health standard makes the management of biosecurity risks at the border unworkable in light of some technical drafting issues between the Biosecurity and Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act. The Government has decided to amend the Biosecurity Act and the HSNO Act so that they operate as Parliament intended.”

Jim Anderton said the legislative amendments were required urgently because MAF has had to suspend issuing new or amending existing import health standards.

“This is causing disruption to trade and frustration for our trading partners, importers, and primary producers.

“The Government considers it needs to move quickly to clarify the legislative framework for managing new organisms and resolve the problems created by the Court of Appeal decisions, including validating existing import health standards.”

Jim Anderton said the changes would make it clear that organisms imported incidentally in or on traded goods will be managed under the Biosecurity Act. Intentionally imported new organisms will continue to be managed under the HSNO Act.

“There will be no change to the way genetically modified new organisms are managed. All genetically modified new organisms will still require a HSNO Act approval prior to being imported.”

He said comment will be invited from key organisations and interested parties on the proposals via the select committee process once the bill was passed through its first reading.


ENDS

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