The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has determined that grounds exist to reassess approvals of substances
containing neonicotinoids used in New Zealand.
Neonicotinoids are a group of insecticides and have been the subject of ongoing concern regarding their effects on bee
populations internationally. A reassessment is a formal review of the rules controlling a substance that is already in
use in New Zealand.
‘Grounds’ is a specific term under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO). It refers to certain criteria
required by HSNO, which must be met before a reassessment can be initiated. Notification of grounds means an application
can be made to reassess a substance.
The decision that grounds exist to reassess neonicotinoids was made based on significant new information relating to
their environmental and human health impacts. This new information includes recent reports from international regulatory
agencies including the European Food Safety Authority, European Chemicals Agency Committee for Risk Assessment and
Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency.
“Establishing grounds is an administrative first step. The reassessment itself is the second step in the process, and
involves publicly engaging interested parties,” says Acting General Manager Hazardous Substances and New Organisms,
Gayle Holmes. "A reassessment provides the opportunity to carry out a thorough and robust look at the risks and benefits
associated with neonicotinoid use in New Zealand.”
The EPA initiated the process to establish grounds through its emerging issues pathway, where it maintains a watching
brief for new information that becomes available both domestically and internationally.
New Zealand’s decision on the grounds for reassessment aligns with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines
Authority's (APVMA) recent announcement that it plans to conduct a chemical review of neonicotinoid use in Australia.
“We plan to look for opportunities to work with our trans-Tasman neighbours at the APVMA on some of the technical
aspects of the environmental risks, given the broad similarities in products used in Australia and New Zealand,” says
Reaendsssessments are determined by a decision-making committee, which is made up of members of the EPA’s HSNO
Committee. The outcome of reassessments can range from no change to the rules (controls) of use, modifications to
controls, restrictions, to revocations of substance approvals.
Read the APVMA’s announcement
of its neonicotinoid review here
Read about protecting our pollinators
on our website