New Zealand’s Natural Health and Supplementary Products Bill: An update

Tuesday 11th October 2016

The New Zealand Natural Health and Supplementary Products (NHSP) Bill seeks to manage risks while also protecting the consumer and the integrity of the industry in New Zealand. An overview of the NHSP Bill can be found in our initial article here. At present, the NHSP Bill is awaiting its third and final reading before it becomes an Act.

The Government may then refine the detail of the Regulations, while maintaining them within the original framework permitted by the Act. Currently, information is being gathered on Regulations, Notices and guidelines that specify what the label must contain. 

Intellectual Property

The ministry originally proposed disclosure of the full formula of ingredients to the Natural Health Products Authority. This created concerns that product information may become vulnerable to theft, as competitors and any member of the general public could easily gain access to it. 

Since the latest consultation, the ministry has revised the system so companies are not required to reveal their intellectual property or commercially-sensitive information. 


To further the expansion of exports, a system is being designed to implement the following regarding New Zealand export products:

a) to be included on the permitted substance list (with an export-only note) or
b) to be considered in a way which permits exporters to continue current trade and grow trade in new products. 

Herbal extract definition

The ministry is still working with those in the industry over ingredients issues that will satisfy consumer, notifier and regulator needs. 

Permitted ingredients and labelling

The permitted substance list is based on the ingredients permitted by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration, and Health Canada. However, anyone can submit a request to permit other goods. Requests for ingredients that are generally considered safe will likely be added to the list.

An updated draft of the permitted substance list will be published soon along with a list of already requested substances for addition to the Permitted Substance list. 

Products containing an active ingredient in a very low concentration (<20 PPM) are exempt from notification as long as the product does not contain any scheduled medicines. Labelling requirements have not been finalised. The aim is to ensure consumer needs are considered, while also minimising the need for over-labelling or re-labelling. International market requirements will be followed where possible. 

Synthetic permitted ingredients

The Bill will permit the use of synthetic versions of natural ingredients. This is because both the human body and also product-testing is unable to distinguish the difference between synthetic and natural ingredients. Furthermore, synthetic ingredients are also often more cost-effective on the industry. 

What next?

It is envisaged that the Bill will likely be passed sometime this year, and then commence in 2017. Upon the Bill’s enactment and the Regulations taking place, the following deadlines will come into effect:

a) Twelve months to notify the register 
b) Twenty-four months to comply with labelling requirements
c) Thirty-six months to comply with manufacturing requirements

We will keep you updated on any further progress. If you have questions about your products and the Natural Health Products Bill, please contact us

This article was written by Sue Ironside and Mariyam Sheeneez. 

This article is intended to summarise potentially complicated legal issues, and is not intended to be a substitute for individual legal advice. If you would like further information, please contact a Baldwins representative.

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