Pesticides and other agrichemicals

This page outlines what agrichemicals are, why they can be hazardous and how they are managed in New Zealand. 

What are agrichemicals?

Agrichemicals are chemical products used in agriculture. They include pesticides.

Why they can be hazardous

Many agrichemicals are toxic. When stored in bulk they can pose significant environmental and/or health risks, particularly in the event of accidental spills.

How they are managed in New Zealand

Agrichemicals are controlled as hazardous substances in New Zealand by the:

  • Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO Act)
  • Ozone Layer Protection Act – for methyl bromide
  • Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act – for substances used in agriculture.

HSNO Act codes of practice form the basis of good practice for agrichemical use.

See Codes of practice for agriculture [Environmental Protection Authority website] 

Many industries have their own codes of practice or standards that cover use of pesticides and agrichemicals within their particular industry.

Neonicotinoids

Neonicotinoids are a group of pesticides used to control insects that can damage some fruit, ornamental cereal and vegetable crops. They are systemic insecticides which mean they move around plant tissue to protect the entire plant from insects. 

Internationally there has been some concern that neonicotinoids accumulate in the pollen and nectar of treated plants. This may cause exposure and harm to pollinators such as bees. New Zealand has very strict controls on the use of neonicotinoids (eg, its use is restricted in areas where bees are foraging and prohibited on plants or trees while in flower).  

See also The use of neonicotinoids in New Zealand [Environmental Protection Authority website]

Find out more

Importing or manufacturing agrichemicals, timber treatments, vertebrate toxic agents, anti-fouling paints and household pesticides [Environmental Protection Authority website]

Agricultural compounds and veterinary medicines [Ministry for Primary Industries website]

See also the Growsafe website. Growsafe is a non-profit organisation that promotes the safe, responsible and effective use of agrichemicals.

Reviewed:
29/08/16