22 Jun 2011

Opposition raises fears over trans-Tasman agency

3:22 pm on 22 June 2011

Opposition parties are warning that natural health products could end up under the control of a new trans-Tasman agency, despite fierce resistance when the agency was previously proposed.

New Zealand and Australia will establish a joint agency to regulate therapeutic medicines and devices.

The Labour Party had to abandon its plan for a trans-Tasman therapeutics agency in its last term, mainly in the face of opposition from the natural products industry.

Natural remedies will not be included in the new agency for now, but the National Government says they could be considered in the future.

Legislation bringing in some form of regulation for that industry will be introduced later this year.

Labour says natural health practitioners should expect to come under the new regime eventually.

The Green Party says the Australian regulator is heavy-handed and would impose onerous compliance costs on hundreds of New Zealand businesses.