Fresh uncertainty surrounds New Zealand's Natural Health Products Bill

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

The bill has been withdrawn from the parliamentary work list.
The bill has been withdrawn from the parliamentary work list.
New Zealand's long-awaited Natural Health and Supplementary Products Bill has been withdrawn from the parliamentary work list.

The bill was effectively in limbo after being first introduced in September 2011, through to its second reading in March 2013.

It was awaiting the Committee of the Whole House stage, but that failed to happen before September's general election.

The website of the New Zealand parliament states that the bill was withdrawn yesterday, 8 November.

That said, Alison Quesnal from trade body Natural Health Products New Zealand said it didn't necessarily mean the bill was dead in the water.

She told members in an email: "New governments go through the list of bills before parliament and consider them."

Safety assurance

"They may decide to withdraw something if it is not a priority for them.  However, until we meet with the new government's Health Minister and Health Select Committee, we cannot know their intentions, so until that happens, all we know is that the bill is in abeyance."

The vast majority of the industry in New Zealand backs the bill, which 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. 

Speaking to us in July, Quesnal said: "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.”

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