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SMC Bulletin: Bunnings pulls pesticides

Bunnings pulls pesticides
Australian hardware chain Bunnings has decided to stop selling neonicotinoid pesticide products in its Australian and New Zealand stores by the end of the year.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported the decision last weekend, which the company said was based on studies that suggest neonicotinoid pesticides may be contributing to declining bee numbers. The decision followed a petition campaigning for Bunnings to pull the pesticides from its shelves, but the company said it had reached its decision independently of the petition.
Two studies, published last year in Science, based on large-scale field experiments found mixed results across European countries. At the time, Victoria University of Wellington insect ecologist Professor Phil Lester said while he hoped the Government acted on such studies, “I’d personally be disappointed if that action was anything other than evidence- and science-based”.
He said there were reports from the UK that growers were reverting to broad-spectrum pesticides “that are considered worse for the environment and mean they cannot grow certain crops”.
Lester told Radio NZ that over-the-counter neonicotinoid-containing products were used at a small scale in New Zealand, so the Bunnings ban would have little impact. “My guess is it will have minimal effect really in the wider scale of things. There are lots of crops around New Zealand that utilise neonicotinoids and it’s those big cropping systems that utilise much more and the use of the home handy-man, or home gardener will pale into insignificance in comparison.”
Mitre 10 has said it will review the sale of neonicotinoid pesticides, but as a scientific consensus had not been reached “we are guided by regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency and MPI”.

Quoted: NZ Herald
"Without correctional surgery, large numbers of these dogs live with chronic pain and distress, with many owners and breeders unaware that their dog is suffering."
New Zealand Veterinary Association chief executive Mark Ward on
Trade Me's decision to ban the sale of British and French bulldogs and pugs on its site.

Call for bycatch video secrecy
Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has rejected a call by some in the fisheries industry to prevent the public seeing footage of bycatch like seabirds and dolphins.

On Tuesday, Forest and Bird released a letter from five industry leaders to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), which argued that information gathered through the ministry's electronic monitoring should be exempt from the Official Information Act (OIA).

The industry groups warned that there could be reputational damage to MPI and 'New Zealand Inc' through the release of video and photos of bycatch from fishing boats. They suggested the Fisheries Act be amended to clarify how information collected from fishing boats would be used and to exempt that information from the OIA.

Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash rejected the call, saying "you have to be honest in the way we do things".

"I don't think covering information up is the best way to go forward. If we are catching dolphins and seals and penguins, we need to understand why this is happening and if we can mitigate that."

The industry group was also concerned about the volume of private data, including workplaces and private living spaces, captured by the system. The OIA already has provisions to protect privacy of individuals and commercially-sensitive information.

MPI has been working on how the Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System (IEMRS) will be rolled out. It is intended to capture fisheries catch, on-board fishing activity and real-time vessel location monitoring; implementation would require changes to the Fisheries Act.

Policy news & developments

National milk surveillance: The Ministry for Primary Industries will extend the current Mycoplasma bovis milk testing into a national milk surveillance programme, expected to begin in February.

Civil Defence report: A report into how New Zealand responds to natural disasters and emergencies has been released. It was started by the previous Government following the Kaikōura earthquake and Port Hills fires to review the current response framework.

More money for e-vehicles: A further $3.74 million has been invested across 20 projects aiming to get more electric vehicles on the roads, including electric campervans and an electric truck to shuttle dairy goods.

DOC joins mine appeal: The Department of Conservation will join an appeal of the West Coast Te Kuha coal mine project, after initially putting in a neutral submission.


This week on the NZ Conversation.

Why it might be time to eradicate sex segregation in sports
Roslyn Kerr, Lincoln University

See more NZ-authored Conversation articles.

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