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Hazardous Substances And New Organisms Act

The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) Amendment Bill has had its second reading in Parliament last week and has now been referred to the Transport and Environment Select Committee for further consideration.

The HSNO Act, a comprehensive piece of legislation, was passed by Parliament in 1996. It is already in force for new organisms. The commencement of the hazardous substances part of the Act was delayed until the completion of the necessary technical regulations.

“The complexity of these regulations has required a rather lengthy and involved consultative process,” said Hon. Simon Upton, Minister for the Environment.

“The regulations are extremely complex as they cover explosives, flammables, corrosives and oxidising substances and those which are toxic to people and the environment. We needed to deal with tracking, packaging, emergency management and disposals well as introducing new substances to New Zealand,” said Mr Upton.

“Following concerns expressed by industry, I prompted a further review of the regulations technical documents by a panel of local experts. Areas were identified where simple legislative changes could improve the application of the Act,”

Within the overall objective of improving the operability and efficiency of the Act, the Amendment Bill can be divided into three main areas:

 Those amendments that are essential for the practical operation of the Act
 Those amendments intended to reduce compliance costs and the time involved in gaining approvals
 Those amendments intended to reduce the Environmental Risk Management Authority’s administration costs or provide it with more flexibility to effectively achieve the purposes of the Act
“The amendments are necessary to ensure that the HSNO Act works as was originally intended. The HSNO Act provides a highly advanced environmental risk management regime, tailored to New Zealand’s circumstances. These changes ensure that we can deliver the environmental goals at the lowest possible cost to all New Zealanders,” said Hon Simon Upton.

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“When the new Government has been formed following the election, the appropriate Select Committee will further consider the HSNO Amendment Bill. Interested individuals and organisations will have the opportunity to comment on these proposed amendments at that time,” the Minister said.

“Following from the review by the panel of local experts, the technical regulations needed for the hazardous substances part of the Act are close to being finalised by officials. I intend to work with the responsible Ministers to ensure that the Government can agree this month to the technical details for these regulations. This will allow legal drafting to proceed,” the Minister added.

“There will not be time to promulgate the large package of regulations before the election. Accordingly, I plan to have the regulations completed and available to enable the incoming Government to take an early decision on the date for bringing the Act into force for hazardous substances.”

ENDS

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