Glimmer of hope that New Zealand's supplements bill isn't dead and buried

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Alison Quesnel will oversee discussions with the government.
Alison Quesnel will oversee discussions with the government.
Hopes have been raised that New Zealand's long-awaited new supplements bill could be revived after the country's trade association took part in an 'unexpectedly positive dialogue' with the government.

There was widespread disappointment when the ​Natural Health Products Bill was removed from the parliamentary timetable after last year's election.

In the fallout from this, Alison Quesnel, the corporate affairs director of trade body Natural Products New Zealand announced she was stepping down, citing both her disappointment at the government's actions and a desire to spend more time with her family.

We recently filmed this video interview with Quesnel,​ where she shared her thoughts on the situation.

However, it is has now been announced she will be staying on, with outgoing chairman of the organisation Ron Geiger announcing that fresh progress has been made.

"As you know, Alison Quesnel and I recently notified Natural Health Products New Zealand’s board of our resignations; Alison’s for the end of June, and mine by the end of this term. Frustration with the withdrawal of the NHP Bill was one of Alison’s main reasons for wanting to call it a day, and she also wants to have more personal time,"​ he said.
"Since then, Alison has been able to initiate an unexpectedly positive dialogue with key Government personnel. While it is very early days, with no guarantees where it may lead, it has become clear that it would be strategically advantageous to retain Alison as the public face of our industry and key driver of government relations.

Well-known face

"The board is therefore delighted to advise that Alison will remain with us, albeit with a slightly changed role as Public Affairs Director. This will enable us to continue with the encouraging progress we are making with the Government, while also still maintaining Alison’s availability as the well-known face of Natural Health Products New Zealand. 

“In keeping with Alison’s desire for more personal time, all of her management and operational responsibilities will from now on be undertaken by General Manager Kerry Warn.”

The proposed new bill, which many in the industry belive will improve consumer confidence and boost exports, would replace the current rules which date back to 1985.

Meanwhile Geiger, owner/director of contract manufacturer Alaron Products and one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the trade body back in 2002, will step down by next year at the latest.

"I have not put a firm timeframe on my resignation and am happy to remain as chairman of the NHPNZ board until a suitable replacement is found later this year.  If this happens during my current term on the board, then I will stay on as a board member until my current term is up. However, I do not intend to stand for re-election to the board in 2019.”

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