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Source: Environmental Protection Authority

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 Gayle Holmes.

Reassessments 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 grounds application (pdf, 540KB)
Read the decision document (pdf, 313KB)
Read the APVMA’s announcement of its neonicotinoid review 
View the video on the EPA’s decision-making process
Read about protecting our pollinators

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