Is your boat paint legal to import and manufacture?

In June 2017, the rules for some antifouling paints changed. Find out what you need to do if your paint contains the chemicals: diuron, octhilinone or ziram.

In 2013, we had a careful look at the rules for all antifouling paints, including which paints should be sold and used in New Zealand. We consulted a wide range of people, including the paint and marine industries, commercial and recreational boat users, and other government agencies. After taking everyone’s view into account, we decided to phase out some paints over four years.

This means from June 2017 onwards, antifouling paints containing diuron, octhilinone or ziram cannot be imported or manufactured in New Zealand.

Note: Antifouling paints are used for painting boats and other underwater surfaces. This guidance does not apply to other paints, such as those you would use for your home or for other buildings.

Why were these paints phased out? Plus

In 2013, the EPA decided to reassess all antifouling paints in use in New Zealand, based on new information about their environmental effects and health impacts. On one hand, these paints are important for New Zealand biosecurity, to prevent unwanted organisms being introduced and spread by fouled vessels. On the other hand, these paints are slow-release toxic coatings. When numbers of boats are moored together in marinas and harbours, these toxic substances can build up to concentrations that could affect people and the environment. Māori had also raised concerns over a number of years about the effect of these toxic substances on waterways. Concerns were also raised about the safety of people maintaining their boats with paints containing these chemicals.

During the reassessment, we considered the risks and benefits from these paints, as well as information submitted during a public consultation.

Learn more about our 2013 reassessment of antifouling paints

Guidance for importers and manufacturers Plus
  • It is now illegal to import or manufacture antifouling paints containing diuron, octhilinone or ziram.
  • You can continue to sell these paints to suppliers, retailers and the public.
  • If you wish to dispose of these paints safely, see the information below. We recommend that you keep documentation about the disposal as a record.
Guidance for suppliers, retailers and the public Plus

If you are a supplier or retailer

  • You can continue to sell paints containing diuron, octhilinone or ziram, but it is illegal to import them into New Zealand for sale.
  • If you wish to dispose of these paints safely, see the information about this below.

If you are a boat owner or painter

  • You can continue to buy and use all of your antifouling paints for painting boats and other underwater surfaces.
  • You must not bring any paints containing diuron, octhilinone or ziram from overseas into New Zealand.
  • Dispose of unused antifouling paint safely (we give you more information about this below).
Are any other antifouling paints affected? Plus

Yes.

During the 2013 reassessment of all antifouling paints in New Zealand, we considered the risks and benefits of other substances in these paints. The following chemicals were banned or phased out:

  • Antifouling paints containing irgarol and chlorothalonil were banned for import and manufacture in New Zealand from 2013 onwards. You can continue to sell and use your remaining stocks.
  • From June 2023 onwards, you must not import or manufacture any antifouling paints containing thiram.
How to dispose of antifouling paints safely Plus

Disposal of these paints must be managed carefully, due to the ecotoxic and other hazardous properties of this type of paint. Antifouling paints must never be dumped in general landfill or sewerage sites, or in the environment on land or in the water.

Check whether your marina has a waste treatment facility on site, or contact your regional council for information about hazardous waste landfills. You could also contact a hazardous waste treatment company to collect and dispose of your waste paints. 

To read more about the rules, see the EPA Hazardous Substances (Disposal) Notice 2017 (pdf 527KB)

See our guidance about using antifouling paints safely, including disposal (pdf 4.3MB)

Any questions? Contact us Plus

For questions about your antifouling paint product, please contact us:

Phone: 0800 429 7827 (0800 HAZSUBS)

Email: our Hazardous Substances Compliance team

 

For media queries, please contact Mark Wardle

 

See our guidance about using antifouling paints safely (pdf 4.3MB)