Concerns about toxic chemicals in fracking waste entering the food chain have prompted the Ministry for the Environment to issue new advice to regional councils.
The ministry has released voluntary guidelines for regional councils when it comes to hydraulic fracturing, which is the process of blasting water and chemicals at high pressure into the earth to access fossil fuels.
Fracking waste has controversially been disposed on farmland in Taranaki, where the regional council has issued consents for it to go to its so-called landfarms and other sites.
The new guidelines do not support this practice - but the ministry is leaving it up to regional councils to decide whether or not to follow best practice, which is to ensure fracking waste is sent to industrial waste management facilities, recycled or disposed of far below the earth's surface - a practice known as deep-well injection.
Environment Minister Amy Adams says concerns about the toxicity of the waste, livestock and food safety all play a part in the new recommendation.
"Part of the reason why the guidelines recommend that it's not an endorsed practice," she says, "is because of the concerns around how you can then control the subsequent use of that land and how that waste could enter either the food chain or the water ways and the like."
Green Party New Plymouth candidate Sarah Roberts says the new guidelines are a start.
"While the move away from the land farming of the fracking waste vindicates what we've been saying all along," she says, "the land farming of the equally toxic drilling waste in huge quantities should not be occurring either, on our prime agricultural land."
Ms Roberts says it's a huge concern in Taranaki that these oil and gas wellsites are dotted all over the region's dairy supply farms.