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Chemical Trespass Working Group

17 August 2000 Media Statement

CHEMICAL TRESPASS WORKING GROUP


Issues surrounding the withdrawn private member's Agricultural Chemical Trespass Bill will be addressed by a working group of interested parties, the Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs announced today.

Te Taihauaauru MP, Nanaia Mahuta, withdrew the bill from Parliament's consideration after persuading the Government to take up the issues covered by the bill.

Marian Hobbs said the bill was drafted several years ago and pre-dates most of the work around the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act and much of the experience in implementing the Resource Management Act.

"In my view the issues raised by those supporting the Bill warrant the most serious and careful consideration," the Minister said. "I am extremely concerned to ensure that all the matters surrounding hazardous chemical exposure are dealt with properly.

"However the Bill would not actually provide the means of addressing all the concerns that have come across my desk as Minister. For example on the agricultural aside there are specific issues of concern to organic farmers on the one hand, while other concerns relate to both sustainable farming practices generally and the interests of growers of specialised high value crops which may be very sensitive to particular agrichemicals. Also of great importance are issues surrounding the exposure of innocent bystanders to hazardous chemicals.

"Accordingly I have put in place a series of steps to ensure that the issues around agrichemical trespass are properly addressed.

"I will be inviting all the groups affected by these issues to nominate people with the necessary knowledge and skills to form a group to examine carefully and thoroughly all the issues around chemical trespass and report to me.

"I have instructed the Ministry for the Environment to move quickly on this matter and expect to be in a position to invite the stakeholder groups to nominate the people within the next few weeks.

"I emphasise that my expectations of this group will be that they identify all the issues surrounding chemical trespass and that they work collaboratively to provide effective and workable solutions to the problems. I also expect group members to consult with their communities of interest.

"I expect the group to work in full knowledge of the present laws and of the regulations being developed under the HSNO Act. I will consider changes to policy and if necessary legislation if the group’s advice to me indicates this is necessary.

"The group’s report will be made public and, if I am not satisfied that the group has provided satisfactory and workable solutions, I will consider calling for public submission on it.

"I am determined to get to the bottom of these issues and to develop practical and workable solutions to them," Marian Hobbs concluded.

ENDS

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