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Further setback to New Zealand's Natural Health Products Bill as parliamentary time dwindles

By Gary Scattergood+

30-Jun-2017
Last updated on 12-Jul-2017 at 07:18 GMT2017-07-12T07:18:19Z

The country goes to the polls on September 23.
The country goes to the polls on September 23.

New Zealand's long-awaited Natural Health Products Bill is unlikley to be put before parliament before September's election, according to the Ministry of Health.

The bill will regulate natural health products sold and marketed directly to consumers. The majority of the industry believes it will provide a higher level of assurance that products are safe, approved, effective and contain what is stated on the label. 

However, the bill is currently awaiting the Committee of the Whole House stage - something that is unlikley to now happen before the country goes to the polls on September 23.

"As there is very limited parliamentary time before the election in September, it is unclear if the Bill will be put to the house for its third reading before the election," stated the Ministry of Health this week.

Alison Quesnel, corporate affairs director of trade body Natural Products New Zealand, previously told us she hoped the bill could be passed before the election.

Despite this latest set back, she said she was still heartened by the Ministry of Health’s ongoing work on the bill’s regulations. 

Good for business

“I see their work as a positive sign because it shows that progress is being made. However, the ultimate aim is for the Natural Health Products Bill to be passed into law without delay," she added.

“Virtually every natural health product manufacturer I have spoken with supports the legislation because it will be good for business, good for consumers and good for the natural health industry.  Importantly, it will also assist our exporters by aligning our regulations with those of key international markets.”

Earlier this week we revealed that five major New Zealand manufacturers – backed by Natural Products New Zealand – hit out at a "small group of detractors” which they claim is creating "misinformation" about the bill.

Vitaco chief operating officer Roger Scott, Go Healthy director Kurt Renner, New Zealand Health managing director Minesh Patel, Phytomed technical director Phil Rasmussen and Artemis founder Sandra Clair said the bill was urgently needed to align regulations with other major overseas markets.