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HSNO Paper overlooks big opportunity

HSNO Paper overlooks big opportunity

The Discussion Paper on the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act released recently by Environment Minister Marion Hobbs ignores half the problem business is facing over the Act, the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) warns.

By focusing only on new organisms and genetic modification, Government is looking at only one part of the problem caused by the HSNO legislation, said Garth Wyllie, Executive Officer for the EMA.

The Act is also hobbling New Zealand's ability to develop and adapt new substances and materials.

"The discussion paper ignores the rapidly expanding administration and compliance regime being imposed to register the 220,000 low risk substances, which have been renamed 'hazards'. These include salt and many common plastic compound materials.

"The paper should have included the plethora of new rules and compliance costs being imposed on these substances.

"The controls on them are found nowhere else in the world; the regime is using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.

"Minister Hobbs' review is missing an ideal opportunity to review the ballooning costs of their introduction and registration in New Zealand.

"The $8 million extra requested by ERMA two weeks ago to manage the Act's register of low risk substances is only the tip of the monster cost burden being created. We advised the $8 million extra cost would be coming 10 months ago.

"If Government is serious about reducing compliance costs and constraints, the structure and operation of the Hazardous Substances part of the legislation must be reviewed - it's starting to impact seriously on business ability to innovate. Ultimately this will cost New Zealand growth, export earnings and jobs.

"The innovation horse on which our future growth is riding is being asked to run ever faster while being throttled by the costs and compliance of importing new materials and substances.

"New materials and substances are not being released on the New Zealand market. Several 'low risk' product developments have been taken offshore to avoid the onerous HSNO regime.

"Our ability to develop and manufacture new medicines is being seriously compromised.

"The controls being imposed would make no difference to recent chemical spill incidents as the products being transported were high risk dangerous goods and already subject to tight controls."

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