Our approach to this call for information
We decided to take a precautionary approach and issue this call for information, considering glyphosate as an emerging issue. There is growing concern among some New Zealanders about its potential impact on the environment and human health.
The review process
First of all is the call for information. We will analyse the information received, issue a summary report, and consider any next steps. The time required to do this will depend on how much information we receive.
We welcome information from a wide range of sources, including – but not limited to – manufacturers, distributors, retailers, agricultural, horticultural and domestic users, trade and sectoral organisations, local and regional authorities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), groups representing Māori, environmental groups, home gardeners and the general public. We are looking for purposeful information, especially about risks that people consider are not being managed adequately.
We want to know how glyphosate is being used in commercial and domestic settings. We will seek information about its effects on human health and the environment, and about its social and cultural impacts. We also want to know about the economic implications of glyphosate’s usage.
Potential rules or restrictions
Reassessments can result in additional risk management measures. These can include, but are not limited to, restrictions on how much of a substance may be applied, how often the applications can take place and how the substances are applied. Other common controls include buffer zones to protect sensitive areas and locations, and restricting access to the substances. Any additional control measures need to be justified by the decision makers, and considered to be achievable and effective to protect people and the environment.
International regulation and EU review
In the European Union (EU), hazardous substances are subject to reregistration at regular intervals. The current review of glyphosate is in response to a re-registration application by an industry group.
We would be able to use the information and regulatory decisions coming out of the EU reassessment process. We still need to run our own processes in New Zealand, as we need relevant New Zealand data on glyphosate and conduct the process with a New Zealand lens. This call for information is part of this process.
New Zealand’s position is consistent with that of our major regulatory partners. There are many reasons why different jurisdictions arrive at different conclusions, including varying thresholds of proof, and different drivers for decision-making. The EU has approved glyphosate through to 15 December 2022.
EU activity is part of its routine reregistration process, rather than being driven by particular concerns. We would take account of similar considerations in any regulatory action taken by the EPA. Our assessments consider the effects of chemical use as they relate to New Zealand, so there could be some unique considerations not applicable elsewhere. These might include the impacts of a chemical’s use on our native flora and fauna.