Annette King has been named minister-designate for food safety by the New Zealand Government, and is preparing to establish the New Zealand Food Safety Authority by 1 July this year.

“I welcome this new challenge,” King is quoted as saying in a government press release: “While responsibility for food issues has traditionally been shared between the health and agriculture portfolios, food safety is clearly a prime health concern.

“The work I have been doing in the past two years, particularly in relation to food labelling, has reinforced my interest across the whole spectrum of food issues.

“Establishment of the new Food Safety Authority represents good news for all New Zealanders. Its work will affect all our lives.”

King explained that she would be advised by a ten-member board, including consumers and producers, which will also assess the authority’s performance.

“Until the authority is established,” she explained: “the Minister of Agriculture and I will remain responsible for our respective parts of the food administration system, and I will be working closely with Jim Sutton and the Ministers of Finance and State Services on legislation and communication and funding issues during the transition period.”