In 2003 a Joint Agency Treaty was signed in 2003 by the New Zealand Health Minister, Annette King, and Trish Worth, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and Aging in Australia. The Treaty is an agreement to bring in to being a trans-Tasman agency called ANZTPA - Australian New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency. The new agency would do away with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (in theory at least) and MedSafe, the New Zealand regulator.
Treaty Signed Against Her Own Health Select Committee's Advice
Just a few days before Minister King signed this treaty her own Health Select Committee were preparing a report to tell her not to sign, saying it would be disastrous for New Zealand.
In order to ratify this treaty both New Zealand and Australia, separately, needed to pass legislation called the Therapeutic Products & Medicines Bill (TP&MB), affectionately renamed the "Anti-Vitamin" Bill.
This legislation was
Rejected by 3 Select Committees
Rejected by The Greens, Maori Party, National and The Act Party.
Taito Phillip Field as a member of Labour voted along party lines for it, when he became independent he voted against it.
Rejected by Gordon Copeland. As a member of United Future voted for it, when he became independent he voted against it.
Winston Peters, leader of New Zealand First, voted for the Bill then changed his mind before the second reading.
Rejected by over 250,000 concerned New Zealanders.
Between 2003-2007 Petitions were sent in to Parliament in protest. Thousands of letters have been written and postcards sent to MP's, many submissions given to the Select Committee.
Health Freedom Success
February of 2007 - Health Freedom launched a Nationwide Protest Action campaign in association with the New Zealand Health Trust which was ultimately successful. July 16 2007 - champion of the Anti-Vitamin Bill, Minister Annette King, announced that the Labour led Government is not proceeding with legislation and it has been postponed, but will remain on the Order Paper to be revisited when sufficient parliamentary support is available.
The Agreement between Australia and New Zealand also remains in place, and can be ratified in the future following the passage of legislation. The Australian Government has been informed of the situation and agrees that suspending negotiations on the joint authority is a sensible course of action.
A New Government
On April 8 2009 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Green Party and National on shared policy initiatives. Among them is an agreement to work together to develop a New Zealand based regulatory system for natural health products.
Green MP Sue Kedgley will work with the Minister of Health Tony Ryall and Associate Minister Jonathan Coleman to develop a regulatory system that is specific to New Zealand, rather than the trans-Tasman model that had been proposed by the previous Labour led government.
Click Here for the current status of regulation of natural products in New Zealand.