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Marion Hobbs On Spray Drift

Media Release
Hon Marian Hobbs
Minister for the Environment

15 March 2000


The Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, says regulations to take effect in the middle of this year will provide the means to set the levels of hazardous substances, including pesticides, which are acceptable in the environment.

But she is reserving her options on calls to outlaw spray drift. This follows the linking, by an Occupational Safety and Health medical panel, of the use of the agricultural chemical 24-D butyl ester to the poisoning of a Northland farmer.

"There are two issues involved with spray drift," Marian Hobbs said. "There is the actual drift which can be seen as trespass and then there is the substance which is doing the drifting.

"Regulations under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act setting limits on hazardous substances are being finalised. Once these are available and the Act is commenced for hazardous substances, these limits can be set. It will then become an offence to exceed these levels in air or water. Where a level is exceeded the person creating it, for example by spraying a substance in a way that causes drift outside the target area, would be liable for prosecution.

"At present, some local authorities have requirements in plans which control spray drift. These can of course be used now.

"The actual drift, which can constitute trespass, is another story. It could occur in topsoil or underground water as well as spray. The regulations will mean limits can be set for soil and water as well as air so I will want to assess whether the regulatory process under the HSNO Act answers the problem inherent in people's objections to spray drift before considering any other steps."


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