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Natural Health Products Bill should be dropped - permanently

Natural Health Products Bill should be dropped - permanently

A leading manufacturer and exporter is calling for the Natural Health Products Bill to be scrapped saying online ordering has overtaken the proposed legislation.

Graeme Clegg, chairman of New Image Group, says it appears there is a drive from Australia to get the Bill back on to New Zealand’s Parliamentary agenda after it has languished since 2011.

“We can only speculate why Australia wants to play the big brother card now, but anyone in the industry would tell you two things: the sector works well now with the regulation that exists and online selling and the entry of Amazon in Australia will be a game changer,” Mr Clegg says. “Cheaper supplements may be imported to New Zealand for personal consumption right now without any monitoring. This naturally could be expected to increase.”

New Image has been manufacturing natural health products in New Zealand for more than 30 years and last year exported around $200 million to more than 30 countries.

Mr Clegg says the existing regulations in New Zealand provide significant consumer protection and with minor adjustments could allow more flexibility without the costs that would result from the proposed legislation. This had been done for fortified foods and extending this for dietary supplements is a far more practical regulatory solution.

“I know the Natural Health New Zealand association, of which we are a member, supports the Bill, but many of us think the association has it wrong,” Mr Clegg says. “The Maori Party,New Zealand First and the Direct Sales Association of New Zealand (DSANZ) think so too and the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) has been publicly critical of the potential for excessive bureaucracy.”

New Image, which has won natural health products export awards, is unaware of any so called “cowboys” in the industry as it believes it is well managed by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

“What’s more, there has been no threat to public health identified and no instances recorded of health issues associated with supplements made in this country,” Mr Clegg says. “With the huge escalation of health care costs to the nation, the Government should be supporting any initiative for the people to take responsibility for their own health through awareness and prevention. Additional costs for no benefit just increase prices.

Ends

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