Greens' campaign tackles pesticide

  • 09/11/2015
(file, Reuters)
(file, Reuters)

The Green Party is calling for a ban on a pesticide ingredient blamed for killing bees in large numbers.

On the grass in front of Parliament buildings in Wellington today, MP Steffan Browning launched the public campaign against the use of neonicotinoids.

The Greens want the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take neonicotinoid pesticides "off the shelf and out of our environment".

Neonicotinoids have been available for use in New Zealand for more than 20 years. They work by moving through plant tissues and then act on the nervous system of insects.

There was "oodles" of evidence that bees were being harmed and some links with colony collapse, but the chemical makers were putting out confusing information as to whether it is an issue, Mr Browning told NZ Newswire.

"The one thing we want straight away is for it to be taken out of retail."

The Greens also want them to be taken away from seed treatment and for heavy restrictions in agriculture.

The Warehouse and Placemakers had taken them off the shelves and the Greens were lobbying other retailers.

Neonicotinoid products were not a cheap insecticide but it was effective. However, alternatives were available, Mr Browning said.

The Environmental Protection Agency says in New Zealand there are strict controls around their use, such as no spraying near hives - within kilometres - and restrictions on spraying on plants while they are in flower.

The European Union restricted the use of three neonicotinoid insecticides for two years from December 2013 in response to concerns about colony collapse.

Colony collapse had not been seen in New Zealand and the EPA was confident its neonicotinoid rules would protect pollinators.

The EPA was keeping abreast of research into neonicotinoids and if there was a growing body of evidence against its use it could reassess it.