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Work to start on pesticide reduction

15 June 2000
Work to start on pesticide reduction

A $235,000 initiative to begin work on a pesticide reduction programme has been agreed with the Minister of the Environment as part of the Green Budget Package announced today.

Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said she would like to see a strategy in place to halve pesticide use in New Zealand within five years.

“This is a realistic and achievable goal provided there is political commitment to the strategy and assistance to producers to help them convert to more sustainable production techniques which do not rely on pesticides,” said Ms Kedgley.

“At present more than 3,000 tonnes of pesticides are used in New Zealand each year and residues of these pesticides threaten the health and ecological stability of New Zealand,” she said. “Many highly toxic agricultural pesticides are used when there are less toxic alternatives available which can achieve equivalent results,” she said. “It is extraordinary that we do not have any strategy in place to reduce the amount and toxicity of pesticides that are used in New Zealand,” she said. “The absence of such a strategy undermines our clean, green image.”

Ms Kedgley said the work spent on scoping a pesticide reduction strategy would complement proposals contained in her Pesticide Reduction private members bill which is in the ballot waiting to be drawn.

“My Pesticide Reduction Bill proposes a far-reaching strategy to halve pesticide use in New Zealand within five years. It proposes a precautionary approach to pesticides which seeks to prevent or reduce the harm that pesticides can cause to the environment and human health.”

Ms Kedgley’s bill calls for a review of all pesticides registered under the Pesticides Act and stipulates that a pesticide will not be permitted if a less hazardous alternative is available that will control the pest.

It proposes an environmental tax on pesticides, to ensure that the full costs of any environmental or health damage from pesticides is borne by the person or persons who use pesticides; assistance to the farming sector to help them convert to production techniques which do not rely on pesticides; the phasing out of the most toxic pesticides, and setting maximum residue limits for pesticides in food on the basis of children’s tolerances and dietary intake.

The money will be administered through Vote Environment but will also link with the Ministry for the Environment’s existing work on organo chlorines.

Sue Kedgley MP: 04 470 6728, 025 270 9088
Gina Dempster (press secretary): 04 470 6723, 021 126 5289

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