• Robyn McDonald
Consumer Affairs

The Minister of Consumer Affairs, Hon Robyn McDonald said at the opening session of the Infant Products Safety Forum held today in Wellington that it provided an opportunity for in-depth discussion between industry, government agencies, and parent groups on the many issues surrounding infant product safety.

"I am delighted with the positive response from invited groups and we have over 65 representatives attending. This ensures that we will indeed get the diverse range of views we need to develop an appropriate action plan for further enhancing infant product safety," said Robyn McDonald.

"Due to considerable public interest and concern on the safety of infant products earlier this year, I decided to set up a Forum involving concerned groups to discuss relevant safety issues.

"The goal is to ensure that we have safe products and safe use for New Zealand consumers. The objectives of the day long session include:

sharing expertise and ideas about how best to achieve safety and assist the Ministry of Consumer Affairs in further developing its safety strategies;

gaining a common understanding of issues relevant to the development, maintenance and enforcement of mandatory and voluntary standards;

ensuring all those who might have a role in ensuring safety, understand and fulfil that role; and

encouraging more informed public discussion, education and debate about safety.
"We will be listening to presentations ranging from injury statistics, current standards, views on safety aspects, and infant product safety and health care. These will then be followed by discussion groups.

"The Forum will assist in developing a programme of action to deal with concerns on the safety of infant products. A discussion document will be released at a later date with all the papers and discussions raised during the Forum," said Robyn McDonald.

"It is also opportune to highlight to all New Zealanders the importance of keeping the Ministry of Consumer Affairs informed about accidents involving an infant product which has resulted in either a "near-miss" situation or an injury.

"Unfortunately not all situations are brought to our attention and I consider it essential that users of infant products do advise us of such situations so that we can continue to expand our formal database to ensure that we keep in touch with what does happen. In that way, it can serve as an opportunity to "raise warning flags", if a particular incident has occurred on a frequent basis," concluded Robyn McDonald.