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IAHF List: Music to my ears! Thought you'd enjoy reading of this rebellion in New Zealand against corrupt Health Minister Annette King and this mindless Treaty with Australia which would screw New Zealand's vitamin consumers by harmonizing NZ law to AU's. Seems that the "Treaty" won't be going anywhere because the opposition parties in New Zealand have the votes to kill any attempts to pass implementing legislation.

Just the same, if I were a vitamin consumer in New Zealand, I wouldn't take anything for granted! Contact your MP RIGHT NOW in opposition to this Treaty!


Pro-Supplement MPs May Block Trans-Tasman Regulatory Plan
Posted on: 12/11/2003

WELLINGTON, New Zealand--A joint media statement issued by the Ministers of Health for Australia and New Zealand announced the governments signed a treaty on Dec. 10 establishing a single, bi-national agency to regulate therapeutic products, including medical devices, pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and complementary medicines. However, concerns among the natural health community in New Zealand may stymie attempts to implement the regulation.

Trish Worth, the Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Health, said in the media statement that the agreement is the result of years of collaboration and consideration between the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) and New Zealand's Medsafe. "[It] represents a significant advance in trans-Tasman regulatory co-operation and will effectively integrate the therapeutic products regulatory systems of both countries, comprising an unprecedented level of international cooperation," she said. Once the treaty is signed, both countries' parliaments must approve it and implement legislation to revamp existing regulatory structures. Current plans are for the Trans-Tasman Therapeutic Products Agency to commence operation in July 2005.

The agency will function in a manner similar to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with responsibility for pre-market evaluation, product licensing, post-market surveillance, manufacturer licensing and standard setting. According to information from the the new agency's project Web site (www.jtaproject.com), there would be no significant changes in the regulation of prescription and OTC medicines, which are similarly regulated in both countries. However, because there is to be "no lowering of standards" and because regulation of supplements is much stricter in Australia, the plan would significantly impact how dietary supplements are regulated in New Zealand. In the agency's report, it noted New Zealand consumers would benefit from the change, as they would "have confidence in the safety and quality of the products they use."

Discussions about establishing a joint agency date back to the late '90s; in 2001, Annette King, New Zealand's minister of health, publicly acknowledged the countries were debating the benefits of such a regulatory scheme. King has championed the proposal since that time, despite concerns from the natural health community about the possible impact on complementary medicines. In a commentary published in the Dec. 10 New Zealand Herald (www.nzherald.co.nz), King noted the public "outrage" about how regulation of supplements would change, but said the concerns stem from "New Zealanders not being adequately protected from therapeutic products or dietary supplements that have been found to cause serious injury and even death. … The safety of New Zealanders from products that make unsubstantiated or false claims, or from harmful products that masquerade as dietary supplements, is the government's priority."

Whether this has been the government's priority in the past is the major question posed by industry members and some legislators. In September 2001--in response to a petition filed by Sue Kedgley, Member of Parliament (MP) for New Zealand's Greens party --the Health Committee of the New Zealand House of Representatives convened an inquiry into the trans-Tasman agency proposal. On Dec. 10, 2003, Steve Chadwick, chairman of the committee, presented the results, which overwhelmingly recommended removing complementary health care products, such as dietary supplements, from the purview of the trans-Tasman regulatory agency. Instead, it asked the New Zealand government to strengthen domestic regulation of dietary supplements, noting current regulations have not been enforced in this area.

However, the committee report apparently did not influence King, who signed the treaty regardless. In response, MPs from the National, ACT, Greens, New Zealand First and United Future parties held a joint press conference the next day announcing their parties would not vote for legislation resulting from the treaty that would affect regulation of complementary health care products. The government, consisting of the Labour and Progressive Coalition parties, needs the support of legislators from one of the dissenting parties or it won't have enough votes to pass the necessary law. Kedgley said the committee and petitioners were "offended at being shafted," according to the New Zealand Herald.
For Health Freedom,
John C. Hammell, President
International Advocates for Health Freedom
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Point Roberts, WA 98281-8702 USA
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