Sunscreen Bill Passed Unanimously

Sunscreen Bill passes, putting heat on manufacturers to meet SPF label promises

Parliament has unanimously passed a bill which will give New Zealander’s greater confidence in the effectiveness of the SPF products they buy, says MP for Bay of Plenty Todd Muller.

The Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Bill, sponsored by Muller, explicitly references the joint Australian/New Zealand Sunscreen Standard in the Fair Trading Act with steep consequences for proven breaches.

Muller says he is delighted with the level of parliament support. 

“This is personal for me, I made very poor decisions sunbathing as a young guy, and still pay the price every year with ongoing skin cancer removal. I can’t dodge that lack of judgement, but I have no time for a scenario where well informed consumers cannot be sure that that the SPF claims on all of our sunscreens will be accurate. 

“Currently New Zealand and Australia have a shared sunscreen standard, however it is only voluntary in New Zealand, meaning products sold here may not have been tested against their SPF ratings, or they could meet different standards such as those in the United States.

“Considering New Zealand has one of the highest skin cancer and melanoma rates in the world, the idea that the SPF promises on the label aren’t verified in all cases is unacceptable. Consumer NZ has continued to find that sunscreen is not meeting SPF levels advertised. Last year it found that three sunscreen brands out of nine tested failed to meet their own sun protection claims.

”With the bill that passed tonight, the sunscreen product safety standard that we share with Australia is now specifically referenced in the Fair Trading Act.  Any breaches can be subject to significant fines of up to $600,000 for a company.

“To see a members’ bill unanimously supported through all stages suggests it was well and truly overdue.

“I want to thank all parties in Parliament for their support, also the stakeholders, including Consumer NZ and various sunscreen manufacturers’ peak bodies for their willingness to work with the Health Select Committee to get a sensible outcome.  Whilst there’s no complete solution to the impacts of our harsh sun, this will strengthen the consumer’s position and is a necessary and vital step while the Government works on a more enduring legislative framework.”