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Legislation Without Regulations Makes No Sense - VTANZ

“Kiwi-owned vape businesses are disappointed the Government is rushing through its vaping legislation in time for the election campaign, while the local industry remains completely in the dark over the regulations,” says Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ) spokesperson Jonathan Devery.

His comments come as the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill is set to be debated again and passed under Urgency in the last sitting days of this Parliamentary term.

“As the bill stands, the regulations will take effect a few months after its given Royal Assent. However, alarmingly the industry still doesn’t know any detail around the many proposed regulations. We are absolutely committed to ensuring all our products and practices comply, but it’s difficult when there remains so much uncertainty,” says Mr Devery.

VTANZ is now calling on Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa to provide clarity to the Kiwi vape industry on the Government’s process to confirm the regulations, its promised consultation with industry, and ensuring implementation timelines are workable.

“The vaping industry has been calling for regulation for five years, so it’s hugely disappointing the bill is now set to be passed under Urgency, with all the regulations then foisted upon us. That’s really unfair on any business.

“To ensure the best product standards, for example, Government officials need to work closely with industry on the regulations. Rushed legislation does not make good law! It should not be passed in haste, but by the next Parliament with cool heads after the election and after some serious collaboration.”

Mr Devery says as well as taking a deep breath and providing business with more clarity, MPs debating vaping need to stay focused on what’s actually going to reduce New Zealand’s smoking rates.

National MP Nicky Wagner has formally submitted two amendments. The MP’s Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs) would reverse the proposed ban on oral tobacco-free nicotine pouches and amend the bill to allow businesses that receive at least 50% - not 70% - of their turnover from vaping products to be designated a specialist vape retailer if they meet a series of conditions.

“We look forward to these two amendments being debated, but we’re also hoping for more substantive changes. Ideally, these would include increasing the number of vape flavours – beyond the proposed three – that general retailers are permitted to sell,” says Mr Devery.

VTANZ member, Ben Pryor, who co-owns VAPO and Alt New Zealand, says the whole process has been flawed and it couldn’t have come at worse time for business given the ongoing economic fallout from Covid-19.

“The public submission period was shortened, oral submissions were done via teleconference, and now the Government is determined to rush through this massive regulatory bill when Kiwi businesses remain completely in the dark about the new regulations.

“Confusion reigns. For example, we don’t even know if we could display our business name on the front of our shops, because VAPO is also a trademarked regulated product. It’s these practical things business needs to better understand, not to mention making sense of high complex matters pertaining to ingredients, product safety and standards,” says Mr Pryor.

Jonathan Devery says there remains too much at stake and too many unknowns for the bill to be passed under Urgency. Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa needs to deliver considerable clarity to New Zealand businesses and quickly.

www.vtanz.org.nz

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