• John Luxton

The passing of the Copyright (Removal of prohibition on Parallel Importing ) Amendment Bill, was welcomed by the Minister of Commerce John Luxton today.

"I am please that we have passed what is a very important reform for the New Zealand economy," Mr Luxton said today. It is considered by some to be the most important economic reform made by Government for some years.

"The removal of parallel importing restrictions takes away the last substantial form of import licensing still operating in New Zealand and will ensure that New Zealand families and businesses are able to procure products and inputs at world best prices and increase the availability of some goods.

"This will improve international competitiveness and create more jobs."

"New Zealand will be following other countries, such as Japan and Singapore, which already take a similar approach, in that they do not have a general prohibition on parallel importing of copyright goods, but still protect the core rights of copyright holders."

Mr Luxton confirmed that the law change would not breach any of New Zealand ?s international treaty obligations.

Mr Luxton stressed that the changes did not mean the Government was relaxing its stance on intellectual property rights. "New Zealand will continue to protect the core rights of copyright holders, and copies which had been made without the permission of the copyright holder (known as pirated goods) would continue to be prohibited. The law passed by the Government includes large increases in the penalties associated with pirated goods," he said. more... Importers were cautioned that despite the lifting of this restriction, other import restrictions under other Acts continued to apply in some circumstances.

"I am aware of the issues raised by the Government of the United States. But they should not interpret this new Act as anything other than a reinforcement of copyright law in New Zealand.

"It also brings good competition law into the international arena in line with the policies of both Governments to promote free trade in the world's marketplace.

"Interestingly, the initiative can also be seen as remarkably similar to the freeing up of producer board licensing arrangements signalled by the New Zealand Government in the Budget and long sought by the United States Government," Mr Luxton concluded.