27 Oct 2009

Agrichemical industry pushes for law change

9:32 am on 27 October 2009

The agrichemical industry says New Zealand farmers are missing out on new controls for one of the country's worst pasture pests because of data protection laws.

The legislation is currently under review.

The industry body AGCARM is pushing to have the law strengthened because it says it doesn't adequately protect the property rights of agrichemical manufacturers who want to introduce new products.

AGCARM's chief executive, Graeme Peters, says it can cost companies up to half a million dollars to trial and register a new product here.

He says they're given only five years to recover those costs before the market's opened up to competing generic products. That's half the time allowed in most other countries.

Mr Peters says this is discouraging manufacturers from bringing in new pest controls, such as a less costly non-spray treatment for grass grub.

Bruce Burdon, of the Food Safety Authority team that's doing the review, says the aim is to find a balance between encouraging companies to register new products and avoiding monopolies.

He says recommendations for any changes to the data protection law will be made after further discussions with the Ministry for the Environment and ERMA next month.