Pesticides in New Zealand

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There is a high use of pesticides in New Zealand due predominantly to the large agricultural industry.



Sodium fluoroacetate, commonly known as 1080, is used in new Zealand to control animal pests, specifically the possum which threatens biodiversity and carries tuberculosus. Hunters fear that 1080 impacts on game animals, and some environmentalists have concerns about long term influences on drinking water.


The manufacture of 2,4,5-T in New Zealand ceased in 1987 and is no longer sold in New Zealand.[1]


2,4-D is still used in New Zealand and the Pesticides Board has decided not to prohibit the use of the chemical.[1]


Main article: DDT in New Zealand

DDT was used extensively for agricultural use in the 1950s and 1960s to control grass grub and porina moth. It was also used on lawns and for market gardens. Some 500 tons was being applied annually by 1959. By the 1970s its use was restricted and it was finally banned in 1989. Residues are still found in livestock and in marine mammals.


Main article: Endosulfan

The Auckland City Council stopped using endosulfan in the mid 1990s and its use was banned by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) in December 2008 after a concerted campaign by environmental groups and the Green Party.

The non-approved use of endosulfan on cattle in 2007 led to the prosecution of a farmer and the halt of beef exports to Korea.[2]

Testing as part of the Food Residues Surveillance Programme detects endosulfan in foods such as lettuce, strawberries and capsicum but are under 0.1 mg/kg.[3]

In June 2008 the ERMA called for public submissions on the use of endosulfan after tighter controls had been placed on the pesticide in other countries.[4] Submissions closed on 8 September 2008 and a total of 187 submissions were received.

The Green Party surveyed the 85 councils in New Zealand and discovered that 18 of them had used endosulfan on sports grounds in the year preceding October 2008. They claimed that New Zealand is the only country to do so and advocated for a ban on the use of endosulfan.[5]

ERMA placed a ban on endosulfan effective from 16 January 2009.

Methyl bromide[edit]

Main article: Methyl bromide

Methyl bromide is used as a fumigant for whole logs destined for export. There has been lobbying carried out recently to stop its use due to concerns for human health.

Pesticide residue[edit]

Pesticide residues are generally low and are thought to pose no detectable threat to health.[6] The Soil & Health Association of New Zealand and the Pesticide Action Network Aotearoa New Zealand claim that the 2010 results for pesticide residue are the worst ever.[7]

Aerial spraying programmes[edit]

Aerial spraying of West Auckland areas was carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) to eliminate the invasive painted apple moth, a potential threat to the environment and economy. Foray 48B was sprayed over populated West Auckland areas for 29 months involving 48 discrete spray events over 70 days. After the government declined to conduct a public inquiry into the spraying, a "people's inquiry" initiated by a number of academics delivered a report critical of MAF's approach to the issue.[8]

Rural and city areas of Hamilton were sprayed to eradicate the gypsy moth.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Dioxins - Frequently asked questions". Ministry for the Environment. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2012. 
  2. ^ New Zealand Food Safety Authority (August 2007). "Endosulfan: the story unfolds". New Zealand Food Safety Authority. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  3. ^ New Zealand Food Safety Authority. "Food Residues Surveillance Programme". New Zealand Food Safety Authority. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  4. ^ "ERMA NEW ZEALAND SEEKS VIEWS ON ENDOSULFAN". Environmental Risk Management Authority. 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  5. ^ Green Party (2008-10-02). "New Zealand sports grounds getting toxic treatment". Green Party. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  6. ^ Taylor, Rowan; New Zealand (1997). The State of New Zealand's Environment 1997. Wellington, N.Z: Ministry for the Environment. ISBN 0-478-09000-5. 
  7. ^ "Pesticide Residues in Food – Worst Ever". Soil & Health Association of New Zealand Inc. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  8. ^ Report of the 2006 People's Inquiry into the Impacts and Effects of Aerial Spraying Pesticide over Urban Areas of Auckland, retrieved November 2007
  9. ^ Biosecurity New Zealand - Gypsy Moth

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]