The purpose of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996 is to protect the environment, and the health and safety of communities, by preventing or managing the adverse effects of hazardous substances and new organisms.
The HSNO Act has been in force for new organisms since 29 July 1998. It has applied to hazardous substances since 2 July 2001. Since then, there has been a transitional period during which people have been able to import, manufacture and use hazardous substances under the controls required by earlier legislation. The implementation of new HSNO controls is being staged, with the process to be completed by the end of June 2006.
The Department of Labour’s role is to ensure that the HSNO Act is complied with in places of work. The Department carries out this role in conjunction with a number of other agencies, including Maritime New Zealand, CAA, LTSA and territorial authorities.
About The Hazardous Substances And New Organisms Act 1996
The passing of New Zealand’s Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO Act) in June 1996 represented one of the most significant reforms of environmental legislation since the Resource Management Act. The Act came into force in two stages. Provisions relating to new organisms took effect in July 1998. The provisions relating to hazardous substances came into force on 2 July 2001.
The Act established the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA New Zealand) to assess and decide on applications to introduce hazardous substances or new organisms into New Zealand. This includes genetic modification of plants, animals and other living things in New Zealand. For more information visit the ERMA website.
In 2003, the laws governing new organisms, including genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were amended in line with the Government’s overall policy of proceeding with caution with genetic modification while preserving opportunities. These laws came into force on 30 October 2003.
The Food Act 1981 makes the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (previously Australia New Zealand Food Authority) responsible for developing food standards and assessing the safety of genetically modified foods. For more information visit the Food Standards website.
Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (NZ Legislation website).
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