28 Apr 2014

EPA u-turn on bees worries growers

3:29 pm on 28 April 2014

Horticulturists are upset that the Environmental Protection Authority is re-assessing a condition for using some agrichemicals less than six months after completing a major review of pesticide use.

The authority has told Horiculture New Zealand that it's taking another look at the approvals for some organo-phosphate and carbomate insecticides after concerns raised by beekeepers.

The National Beekeepers Association has discovered a condition covering insecticide application has been dropped from the revised rules and wants it put back.

A member of the Association's technical and submissions committee, Don Macleod, says leaving out the control could pose a threat to bees.

But Hort NZ's chief executive Peter Silcock says that the EPA's reassessment has come as an unwelcome surprise after all the effort the horticulture sector put into the review.

Mr Silcock says Hort NZ doesn't support the need to do a further revision of the rules on insecticide use.

It says beekeepers should have made sure the Environmental Protection Authority had the information during the review process.

But the National Beekeepers Association says it wasn't aware of the omission until the review was finished, but it says fixing it needn't delay the process because the revised rules on pesticide use are being phased on over two years.

The Environmental Protection Authority, meanwhile, says there are grounds to reassess the control used to protect bees and other beneficial insects from exposure to pesticides because it has information now that it did not have during the original review.

It says that information though, has come not from the beekeepers but overseas regulators.

The re-assessment will be open to public submissions.