Hon ANNETTE KING (Minister for Food Safety)
: I move,
That the Animal Products (Dairy Products and Other Matters) Bill be now read a second time. The bill provides for the regulation of the dairy industry under the Animal Products Act of 1999, and repeals the Dairy Industry Act of 1952. The safety and trade of dairy products are matters that currently come under the Dairy Industry Act, but that Act does not provide an adequate legislative framework for ensuring product safety outcomes or an adequate legislative framework to facilitate trade in a risk-based management environment. The prescriptive and inflexible style of the Dairy Industry Act is inconsistent with the enabling style of legislation that is being used in modern risk-based legislation such as the Animal Products Act.
There are two overarching public policy objectives for the bill: to manage the risk to human and animal health from the consumption and use of dairy products, and to facilitate the entry of dairy products to overseas markets. The food safety administration in New Zealand is moving towards an environment based on the principles of food safety risk management, in line with international trends. The bill will allow the dairy industry to operate in a risk-management environment, and will provide greater consistency for the rest of the food industry. The bill also aims to facilitate the entry of dairy products to overseas markets by providing the controls and mechanisms needed for market access and the giving of official assurances.
The bill was referred to the Primary Production Committee on 29 June, 2004. Submissions closed on 23 August 2004, and the bill was reported back to the House in September. This bill is supported by all parties in this Parliament. It is necessary to have this bill passed so that we can ensure that the new contracts and initiatives are in place by the beginning of the season. It is highly desirable to have this legal framework in place to make it easier for the dairy industry to accommodate new technologies and processing techniques.
I commend this bill to the House, and I thank the members of the select committee, who looked at it in detail and reported it back with no change.
PHIL HEATLEY (National—Whangarei)
: The National Party will be supporting this bill. We appreciated being able to participate in the select committee process and to ask the intelligent questions at the committee. Labour members—who do not have any constituent MPs who represent rural or provincial New Zealand—were unaware of the issues facing the dairy industry. National members were able to talk to people in the dairy industry about what is familiar to us and what is familiar to them as an industry.