The Government has set out that its preferred approach to product stewardship in New Zealand is clearly for voluntary product stewardship schemes to be encouraged wherever possible, with government intervention only when absolutely necessary.
The agrichemical industry has developed a voluntary scheme that is close to being implemented. There may be opportunities within the existing policy environment for changes to be made that improve the operation of Agrecovery and help to hasten the programme's implementation.
The ultimate driver for the establishment of Agrecovery is regulation. Other tools MIGHT result in a product stewardship scheme. Regulation WILL result in a scheme. The industry does not consider that other tools will achieve the same results. There may be, however, tools that could be used in tandem with regulation to develop the most efficient product stewardship scheme.
- Local government providing collection facilities and container inspection staff in-kind to the programme.
- Government agencies could help through purchasing policies - requiring membership of stewardship programmes when purchasing agrichemical product. The forestry sector, for example, is one of the largest purchasers of agrichemicals in New Zealand. There are significant opportunities to include stewardship requirements in tenders. This may come through the Govt3 programme.
- Central and local government providing upfront funding to assist in the establishment of Agrecovery.
- Central government administering a border control system that requires importers to show evidence of participation in a take-back programme for the packaging they place onto the market. This function could be integrated into existing Customs processes.
- ERMA could require participation in a scheme as condition of approval on imported substances. This is unlikely to catch all products as not all require such approval.
- The ACVM [Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act (1997)] Act could have the potential to require membership of a scheme as a condition of registration of a product. Again, this is unlikely to catch all products and may therefore be inadequate.