Implementation Of The Hazardous Substances And New Organisms Act

  • Simon Upton

The Minister for the Environment, Hon Simon Upton, has confirmed that the target date for bringing into force the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) is now 1 July 1998.

It was previously planned for 1 April 1998. "The HSNO Act is a technically complex piece of legislation with links to a large number of other statutes," said the Hon Simon Upton. "There is little to be gained by forcing the implementation of the Act through within a tight timeframe, when with the benefit of more time we can deliver a more stable and complete system that is workable," said Mr Upton.

It is also proposed to bring the Act into force in two distinct stages. The provisions relating to new organisms are scheduled for introduction on 1 July 1998 with the balance of the Act (those sections relating to hazardous substances) targeted for 1 October 1998. The Minister has been advised that there are a number of significant advantages in taking this approach.

These include:-

  1. The change will allow for an orderly completion of the necessary regulations, particularly where New Zealand can benefit from progress with international harmonisation with respect to hazardous substances.
  2. It will provide sufficient time for development of further supporting statements and procedures to ensure that the methodology is workable at the level of 'day to day practice.'
  3. It will align the start of the new system for approvals of genetically modified organism to the 1998 growing season.
  4. It will enable the new government agency responsible for implementation of the Act - the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA New Zealand) - to phase the workload associated with the introduction of the Act.
  5. The change will also provide sufficient time for industry to ensure that it is fully informed and prepared for complying with the Act. To become operational the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act requires: ·
    • completion of the Methodology required under s.9 of the Act (i.e. the guidelines by which all applications will be assessed by ERMA)
    • the setting up of the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA)
    • the completion and promulgation of the key regulations under s.41, s.74, s.75, s.76 and s.140 of the Act. ·