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HSNO amendments heralds important changes

14 December 2005

Passing of HSNO amendments heralds important changes for industry

Parliament today passed the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Approvals and Enforcement) Amendment Bill, heralding important changes for industry.

Environment Minister David Benson-Pope says the changes will provide meaningful reductions in costs to industry and government; and reduce barriers to innovation; without compromising what the Act originally set out to achieve – a healthy environment for all New Zealanders.

"Hazardous substances do bring us a great many benefits," said Mr Benson-Pope. "They allow us to be more productive – to generate more with less, to grow more with less, to achieve more with less. This Act not only ensures that economic growth is sustainable, it actually enhances the sustainable economic growth potential of New Zealand.

"The amendments also improve the protection of the environment and the health and safety of people and communities. They do this through group standards that will enable HSNO controls to be applied to not only the many currently uncontrolled notified toxic substances but also hazardous wastes. They also remove barriers to setting exposure limit controls that protect the environment and people.

“Industry can now progress with one piece of legislation, where previously there were four inconsistent and overlapping ones – the old Dangerous Goods, Toxic Substances, Pesticides and Explosives Acts – this will save time and money. Passing the Amendment Act also improves the workability of rapid assessment and reassessment of transferred substances."

In June 2003 government announced a Hazardous Substances Strategy to improve the workability of HSNO. The passing of today's HSNO Amendment Act marks another important milestone in delivering that strategy.

"It is important to place the HSNO amendments passed today in context of that strategy because it was effectively a promise to industry and to all New Zealanders – a promise to deliver good environmental governance through effective legislation," said Mr Benson-Pope. "We promised to fix the RMA - and we did. We promised to fix HSNO – and we have done that too."

ENDS

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