Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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December 05, 2003

Australian Supplement Laws for New Zealand?

It is called Trans-Tasman harmonization, and it's an effort to make the laws the same on both sides of the Tasman Sea, the body of water separating Australia from New Zealand. In this case, we are talking about the laws regulating the production and sale of food supplements, products containing nutrients in concentrated form and in health-effective quantities. Supplements are regulated as medicines - therapeutic goods - in Australia, while they are more liberally treated and more widely available as foods, according to long established tradition, in New Zealand.

The effort to bring about harmonization seems to be part of a world wide drive to introduce restrictions on supplement availability, which was started in the European Union some years ago and is now in full swing in Canada, in the USA, and now in the area around the Tasman Sea. Australia has recently clamped down on supplements in a major way.

New Zealand has called upon its Parliament to investigate and recommend how supplements should be regulated. A Select Committee was established which heard numerous witnesses and is about to wrap up its work. In a somewhat surprising move, the New Zealand government has now stated that it will not be waiting for the Select Committee's report but will go ahead with harmonization towards Australia's restrictive system, disregarding the wishes of the citizens of New Zealand and the work done by its own Parliament.

Sue Kedgley, member of the New Zealand Parliament, says this decision by the government is nothing less than scandalous.

Government jumps the gun on year-long inquiry

Green MP Sue Kedgley says it is scandalous that the Government is to completely ignore the findings of a Select Committee inquiry into how to regulate dietary supplements.

In answer to Ms Kedgley's question in Parliament today, the Health Minister admitted that the Government has decided to go ahead and regulate dietary supplements through a Trans-Tasman Therapeutics Products Agency, instead of waiting till the Select Committee made its own recommendations next week.

"Clearly the Government had made up its mind before the inquiry had begun its work," said Ms Kedgley, the Green Health spokesperson. "It has turned a year-long inquiry into a farce, wasted taxpayers' money and insulted the hundreds of people who made submissions to the Health select committee inquiry in good faith.

"The government's arrogant decision is an insult to the democratic process. What's the point of having parliamentary select committee inquiries if the government simply ignores them?" Ms Kedgley asked. She pointed out that the joint Health Ministry-TGA website stated that the Government would not make a final decision until after the Select Committee inquiry had been concluded.

Ms Kedgley said the overwhelming majority of submitters, including from the dietary supplements industry, were totally opposed to the regulation of dietary supplements through a trans-Tasman agency, because of the higher compliance costs and loss of sovereignty that would inevitably result.

The Health Select Committee's report into how best to regulate dietary supplements will be reported back early next week.

See also:

No evidence of danger in dietary supplements

Greens against proposed regulation

Critical Dietary Supplements report due soon

Therapeutics Decision Cuts Choice, Ramps Up Costs

Outrage over health pills law New Zealand Herald

Trans-Tasman agency to regulate therapeutic products

NZ Healthcare Handed To Aussies

King to sign 'draconian' agency deal

Annette King: Public safety at heart of new regulations on herbal lines

At Last Someone Is Listening, Says Health Group

Fascinating Story On Pan Pharmaceuticals

The PAN Scandal - It's time for a Vitamin Debate on National Television Dr Sandra Cabot

Update December 8, 2003 - some more information from New Zealand, and a call to action for all who live there and appreciate having choices with regard to health.

Political pressure in New Zealand against Trans-Tasman therapeutic products agency:
Govt compromises on therapeutic agency
Monday, 12 December 2005
Delaying the date for establishing the controversial trans-Tasman therapeutics agency will not help the Government get the numbers if it does not change its position on dietary supplements, according to the Green Party.

From: Liston Bateson
To: Natural Medicine Colleagues
Sent: Saturday, December 06, 2003 9:00 AM
Subject: No 1009 Your Betrayal by Stealth

Greetings and Salutations,

For the last few years we have been constantly warning you to be vigilant and resist the attempts by the Government under the instigation of the big drug barons to take full control of the natural medicine industry in this country. They have now succeeded. As you will read below, our government has been telling us one thing and silently doing something completely different which is not in our best interest.

You are about to be deprived of your rights and your freedom of choice as to what type of treatment / medication you want in future. There is more to come. Most natural remedies will be restricted or removed entirely from the market which will be completely dominated by the pharmaceutical industry. Practitioners of natural medicine are also targeted and will be restricted or prevented from practicing.

The drug companies are now in full control, not the citizens. As you would have already gathered from many of the reports received from well placed and authoritive sources, what is happening now has been planned for some time and initiated in Germany and accepted by many governments worldwide. The control of natural medicine products in New Zealand will now be decided in Australia and Europe.

People throughout the world are rising up in protest as the issues begin to bite.

What have you done about it ?  Do you pass these reports on to all your friends or do you simply delete them for the lack of interest ? Get your priorities right. Don't cry out later. Follow up the suggestions in this report and do your duty to yourself and family.
Kiwi Joe

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2003 11:44 PM

To All our Supporters




Despite all the work Citizens for Health Choices, dietary supplement industry associations and consumers have done since 1992 and the overwhelming evidence against proceeding with the joint agency with Australia for dietary supplements. It has today been revealed in Parliament that Annette King, Minister of Health has deliberately betrayed all New Zealanders who believe in freedom of choice in healthcare.

The following question was to Annette King on her chat room 8th Oct 2003.

GARY: We have been informed that despite complete rejection by the dietary supplement industry and well over 35,000 dietary supplement consumers, constitutional lawyers and economists and before the Health select Committee has submitted its report; you have stated that the Trans Tasman Joint Agency to regulate dietary supplements will proceed as planned. Why are you ignoring the overwhelming opposition in New Zealand to the proposal for a Joint Agency?

ANNETTE:  Gary you have been misinformed.

A transcript of the events in Parliament this afternoon is at the bottom of this communication.

Select Committees are part of the New Zealand constitutional process. I believe it is unheard of for a government to take action before a Select Committee before a Select Committee report has been tabled. This calls into question New Zealand‚s whole "constitutional process". It means that New Zealand Select Committees have no power at all and are a waste of time.

Annette King has now stated in Parliament that the decision was made in November 2002 to proceed. She allowed the Health Select Committee to proceed with their enquiry over the past 8 months, knowing full well that she would ignore totally any recommendations.

She allowed industry, consumers and tax payers to waste tens of thousands of dollars and many thousands of hours providing very valid arguments against the proposal.

The Minister advised Australia, that it was proceeding months ago.

The Minister has still not advised New Zealand interested parties.

The Minister has signed the death knell for hundreds of small New Zealand dietary supplement companies and committed the New Zealand public to having a reduced range of supplements at probably greatly increased prices. She has virtually shut the door to dietary supplements from countries other than Australia.

The Minister's reasoning about time delays to government is seriously flawed. It would appear that there was overwhelming pressure from Australia to proceed.

The Minister's comments that it was because of Pan are seriously flawed as not one dietary supplement has been analysed to show that there was anything wrong with it. The Pan situation arose over a pharmaceutical over the counter drug product, not a dietary supplement.


1. Immediately contact your member of parliament by phone, fax, e-mail and ask him/her and their party to vote against the treaty and bill when it is presented in Parliament.

2. Ring radio talkback programmes Radio Pacific and NewsTalk ZB continually day and night over the next few days to alert all New Zealanders to what has happened.


HON. ANNETTE KING, Minister of Health
Hon. Annette King, Minister of Health
Freepost Parliament
Hon. Annette King
P O Box 18888

PHONE: (04) 470 6554
FAX: (04) 495 8445

Some ideas on what to say in your communications:

1. We don't want to have a joint agency with Australia for the regulation of Dietary Supplements

2. We want to keep the power to regulate Dietary Supplement within New Zealand.

3. We want to be able to choose which Dietary Supplements we want to use, and don't want to pay extra for that privilege due to costs of unnecessary regulation.

4. We feel angry that we have been consistently told in letters from the Minister that the decision had not yet been made, when the decision was made November 2002 to have a joint agency with Australia for the regulation of Dietary Supplements

5. We do not agree on signing a treaty with Australia on such a matter as this. It appears to be nothing more than a dangerous experiment.  Nowhere else in the world has there been such a joint agency established.

6. That Complementary Health Products should be regulated as a separate category from medicines and food.

7.  That the preferred approach should be for NZ to self-regulate and for a mutual-recognition arrangement be struck with Australia.

8. That products should be registered after being measured against a black-list of forbidden ingredients

9. We want the freedom of choice as to how we protect our health.


Kind regards
Jan Mabey


Trans-Tasman Therapeutic Products Agency - Bilateral Treaty

11. SUE KEDGLEY (Green) to the Minister of Health: Has the Government made a decision to include the regulation of complementary medicines and dietary supplements in the proposed trans-Tasman therapeutic products agency, and when does it expect to sign a bilateral treaty between the Australian and New Zealand Governments establishing the agency?

Hon ANNETTE KING (Minister of Health): Yes. The Government has decided to include the regulation of complementary medicines and therapeutic dietary supplements in the proposed trans-Tasman therapeutic products agency. The treaty will be signed on 10 December.

Sue Kedgley: Why has the Minister made this decision before the Health Committee, which is inquiring into this very issue, has even reported back, and what does she say to members of the Health Committee who have been toiling away on this issue for 8 months, only to find at the end of it that that we have completely wasted our time because the Minister had already made up her mind?

Hon ANNETTE KING: It is not reasonable to expect the Governments of New Zealand or Australia to wait any longer for a report from a select committee - a report that the Government did not call for - on something that was first decided in September 2002, 15 months ago. Governments cannot hold up agreements on that basis. What countries would deal with us if we did?

Mark Peck: What process will be followed once the treaty has been signed?

Hon ANNETTE KING: It is proposed that the national interest analysis and a text of the agreement be tabled in Parliament in accordance with the parliamentary treaty examination process.

Dr Lynda Scott: What are the cost implications for New Zealand's large complementary health-care market of having a trans-Tasman therapeutics product agency rather than mutual recognition and a strengthened New Zealand regulatory system?

Hon ANNETTE KING: Work undertaken by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research suggests the costs of regulating complementary medicines within a joint agency would be significantly less than that of a New Zealand regulatory scheme.

Sue Kedgley: What was she saying to the hundreds of submitters who made submissions in good faith believing that we were conducting a genuine inquiry into this issue, and does she understand how they may consider her decision to be arrogant and extraordinary, and that they too may feel - like the members of the Health Committee - that they have completely wasted their time because she had already made a predetermined decision on the matter that the committee is inquiring into?

Hon ANNETTE KING: The Cabinet made a decision in principle in November 2002 that complementary medicines would be included in the joint regulator. We have waited patiently for the select committee to report back. It still has not reported back. We are working closely with the Australian Government. We have considered what we have heard along the way. I think the member may well even be pleased when she sees the extent of what has been considered in the joint regulator.

Sue Kedgley: In light of comments by the Minister for Small Business yesterday that Australian businesses face much higher compliance costs than New Zealand businesses do, why is she supporting a proposal to regulate dietary supplements by an expensive, Australian-based therapeutic goods agency, when overwhelming evidence was presented to the select committee that that will increase the compliance costs of small New Zealand dietary supplement industries, and that no further assurance will be given to consumers as a result of these increased compliance costs, as the Pan Pharmaceuticals debacle amply illustrated?

Mr SPEAKER: That question was far too long. The Minister may comment briefly on one or two aspects of it.

Hon ANNETTE KING: This Government has decided to move, in conjunction with Australia, to regulate complementary and therapeutic dietary supplements because of the Pan Pharmaceuticals situation. Many New Zealanders demanded that we put in place regulation, and the work that I have seen shows the impact on small business of what we intend to put in place will be minimal.

Sue Kedgley: Is she aware that the overwhelming majority of submitters, consumers, and dietary supplement industries are completely opposed to the course she is pursuing, and does she agree with Margaret Wilson‚s comment, in respect of the Supreme Court debate, that a remote and inaccessible final Court of Appeal is not a hallmark of modern democracy; if so, why is her Government supporting the establishment of a remote and inaccessible body, based in Australia and staffed principally by Australians, to regulate dietary supplements in New Zealand?

Hon ANNETTE KING: The member is wrong on just about every point she has made. She has assumed that the body is remote, she has assumed that it is in Australia, and she has assumed that it is under Australia's control. She is wrong on all those points.

The "Kiwi Joe" news letter is provided as a free service to promote the benefits of natural medicine and healing as opposed to drug therapy. All information obtained is from reputable, professional and renowned correspondents throughout the world, leaders in their particular fields.

Website addresses of four of the new generation honest professionals Dr D Duffy Dr Andrew Saul Dr Mercola or Dr Robert  Anderson for information re: Genetic Engineering. Visit the sites for a new awareness of how medicine should really be conducted.

New Zealand Charter of Health Practitioners Inc.

Practitioners Call for King's Head.

Minister of Health Annette King must be forced to resign before she sells out the New Zealand Health Industry to Australian control.

The arrogance of this dictatorial Ministers intention to sign the Australian Joint Agency Treaty before the Parliamentary Health Select Committee report is presented, displays complete contempt for the democratic Parliamentary process and the rule of law.

The Ministers action will in effect ban thousands of safe and effective dietary supplements that have not caused a single death in New Zealand.

In Australia the implementation of the Therapeutic Goods Authority resulted in the closure of 350 small innovative manufacturers, and no new products were manufactured for a ten year period.

New Zealanders have always enjoyed open access to dietary supplements from world wide sources. Minster King will, by signing the Treaty be closing the door on imported products, apart from those manufactured in Australia.

In view of what has occurred in Australia over the last thirteen years of Therapeutic Goods Authority control, how is it possible for Minster King to suggest in any way that this Treaty will benefit New Zealanders?

The Treaty will only benefit Australian manufacturers with a captive exclusive New Zealand market.

This Treaty will create a barrier to trade for non-Australian manufactured dietary supplements.

For Minister King to publicly state that the Joint Agency Treaty will not be regulated by Australians is totally at odds with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Authority - New Zealand/Medsafe Joint Agency Treaty document.

The Question is, "has our Health Minister actually read and understood the Treaty, which operates under Australian Law, or is she only relying on information provided by her inept advisors" ?

A sensible Government concerned with the health of New Zealanders should ensure that Minster King Resigns her position immediately.

For further information:

Kenneth McIver telephone 09 4430922

8th December 2003 NZCHP INC.

See also more recent:

Trans-Tasman: who knows when?
Posted 16 January 2006
Speculation is rife as to when the new Trans-Tasman regulatory agency will actually come into being following the announcement late last year of a further indefinite delay to its opening date. The start-up date for the joint agency is now expected to be at least six to 12 months later than planned. The harmonisation project - originally due for completion on 1 July last year - was first extended for 12 months following the 2004 Australian election. The joint Australian and New Zealand ministerial council overseeing the project announced the additional extension on December 11 2005...


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Friday December 5 2003
updated on Thursday December 9 2010

URL of this article:


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Readers' Comments

You are doing a good job. Wish there were more enlightened folk out there on the net.
All the best
Kiwi Joe

Posted by: Kiwi Joe on April 2, 2004 09:31 AM


Interesting, make it crystal clear our sovereignty and democracy are a sham.
Would have expected more common decency from Ms King

Posted by: A supporter on December 26, 2005 01:30 AM


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These articles are brought to you strictly for educational and informational purposes. Be sure to consult your health practitioner of choice before utilizing any of the information to cure or mitigate disease. Any copyrighted material cited is used strictly in a non commercial way and in accordance with the "fair use" doctrine.



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