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Govt needs to stop asbestos coming into NZ

4 March 2014

Govt needs to stop asbestos coming into NZ

New Zealand must stop importing goods that contain dangerous substances such as asbestos, Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said today.

Kiwirail has suspended its fleet of 40 DL locomotives after asbestos was found in them. Kevin Hague raised the wider issue of New Zealand continuing to allow products containing asbestos into New Zealand late last year with Minister of Consumer Affairs Craig Foss.

“New Zealand is out of step with jurisdictions such as Australia regarding our importation and safety standards for asbestos,” Mr Hague said.

“Our importation of products containing asbestos is a problem the Government has been aware of for years and yet it has not moved to stop this harmful substance from being imported into New Zealand.

“It is not good enough that we continue to import substances containing asbestos on the understanding these imports are decreasing.

“The National Government appears to have put this important health and safety issue into the too hard basket.

“Exposure to asbestos carries high personal and public health costs and is an issue that the Government needs to devote resources to now,” Mr Hague said.

“Workers and consumers in New Zealand face a health time bomb if the Government does not move on this issue.

“All New Zealanders deserve a good life. National’s hands-off attitude to dealing with this problem is putting consumers’ and workers’ futures at risk.”

ENDS

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