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Committee On Agrichemical Trespass

Ministerial Advisory Committee On Agrichemical Trespass

The Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, has announced the members of the Agrichemical Trespass Ministerial Advisory Committee as a further step towards dealing with the issues surrounding the effects of "off-target" agricultural chemicals.

"The Government realises that events such as spraydrift from agricultural chemicals are a concern for many people, who want action to control it," Marian Hobbs said. "We need to work out how we can prevent chemicals going where they were not intended, such as to neighbours, passers-by, nearby organic orchards or vineyards.

"I have appointed this advisory committee to look at the risks related to crops and livestock being exposed accidentally to agricultural chemicals. This is a particular concern for organic producers, as it can affect their ability to market their products."

Marian Hobbs said the committee has been asked to report in two stages, within four months on immediate solutions and within eight months on more long-term solutions.

The 10 members of the committee represent a broad range of interests and expertise. Robert Priest, Deputy Chief Executive of Environment Waikato, will chair the committee.

Other members are:

Helen Atkins, lawyer;

Alan Cliffe, agrichemical producer and applicator;

Dr Francesca Kelly, medical/public health expert;

Richard Kempthorn, fruit/vegetable grower;

John Maber, technical expert and educator;

Graham McBride, Waikato farmer;

Audrey Severinsen, Mayor Manawatu District Council and farmer;

Percy Tipene, organic farmer who will also bring a Maori perspective;

Meriel Watts, Director of Soil & Health, Convenor of the Chemical Trespass Coalition, Member of the Pesticide Action Network.

"This is just one part of the government action to improve management of hazardous substances," Marian Hobbs said. "As I recently announced, the hazardous substances part of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 will come into force in July, and will ensure thorough evaluation of new chemicals before they are introduced. The Ministry for the Environment is also developing a pesticide reduction strategy."

(Terms of Reference follow)

Terms of reference

The terms of reference for the Agrichemical Trespass Ministerial Advisory Committee require the group to:

- Identify the nature and extent of problems associated with risks arising from off-target exposure to agrichemicals, i.e. the use of agrichemicals resulting in their being deposited other than on the intended target area. The risks to be addressed shall include those to human health, the environment and property such as crops, livestock etc;

- Where possible, reach a consensus and report to the Minister for the Environment with practical and workable solutions that are immediately available to address any specific problems associated with risks arising from the use of agrichemicals and which can be addressed using existing law (including laws already passed by Parliament, regulations and similar instruments already in place or approved for introduction) or practices in common use;

- If practical and workable solutions do not appear to be immediately available under existing law or practice, report to the Minister on those areas and identify what further steps are required to enable practical and workable solutions.

The terms of reference also state that:

- The provision of legal aid or alternatives to pesticide use are not part of the scope of this review.

- For the purposes of this report agrichemical means any substance manufactured for the purpose of causing mortality, inhibited growth, or inhibited reproduction in an organism. The terms substance, manufacture and organism have the same meaning as given in the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996.

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