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NZ: Make a submission on the Public Health Bill

Public Health Bill

The Health Select Committee began hearing oral submissions on 12 March.

About the Bill

The Bill is massive. Most is devoted to traditional public health issues such infectious diseases. But it contains a significant new feature. It allows for the making of regulations that reduce risk factors for conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Obesity is a risk factor for all three.

Subclause 374(x) will give future governments the power to make beneficial changes to reduce obesity, such as requiring restrictions on the marketing of junk food to children. Subclause 374(r) allows controls on the supply or sale of products likely to introduce or increase a risk to public health.

But there is substantial opposition to retention of these subclauses in the Bill. This will be a major issue for the Select Committee.

Submissions closed on 7 March 2008. The Select Committee needs to receive a clear message from a wide range of people and organisations that regulation-making powers must remain in the Bill to allow governments to take effective action to improve public health.

Read our information sheet about why FOE thinks retaining regulation-making powers in the Bill is crucial and how they might be used. (PDF)

Our series of fact sheets cover a number of topics: (PDF)

  • views of the Health Select Committee and the Government relating to regulation-making powers in the Bill
  • a description and commentary on regulation-making powers in the Bill relating to non-communicable diseases. This includes the importance of clause 374
  • the failure of the Bill to impose duties on the Minister of Health and the Director General to use their powers in the Bill when appropriate. It also calls for strengthening the requirements for health impact assessments
  • arguments about why it is essential that regulation-making powers remain in the Bill
  • the importance of the Bill for increasing physical activity.

The Public Health Association held workshops around the country about making a submission and has Powerpoint presentations on its website. They also have a template for making a submission on all or parts of the Bill. In the template, ‘Optional section 2: concerning non-communicable diseases’ covers the importance of subclause 374(x).

Parliament’s website has information to help you make a submission. Send two copies of each submission if made in writing to Secretariat, Health Committee, Parliament House, Wellington by 7 March.

Download a copy of the Bill

Download a text version of the Bill from Knowledge Basket. You can cut and paste from this.

Making a Submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee is a helpful guide on making a submission. (PDF)

Read the debate in Parliament
when the Bill was introduced. Subclause 374(x) was an important issue.

Read FOE’s initial views on the Bill (Public Health Bill Surprises)

Published on March 11, 2008 in New Zealand news