EPA should shelve bee-killing pesticides

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needs to listen to New Zealanders and urgently reassess the use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides in this country, the Green Party said today.

Green Party MP Steffan Browning will today present a petition signed by more than 6000 people to the EPA, asking it to reassess neonicotinoids – a type of insecticide that accumulates in the pollen and nectar of sprayed plants and kills pollinators such as bees.

“Healthy bees are critical to our food chain and we must do everything possible to protect them. They pollinate the plants that we and other animals eat. We simply can’t do without them,” said Green Party pesticides spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“We've had orchardists, farmers, and everyday gardeners turning up at our public meetings around the country because they know bees are essential to their crops and livelihoods.

Harvard research has shown very high concentrations of neonicotinoids are present in New Zealand plants and that this pesticide is a serious threat to bees.

“Our EPA has failed to keep up with the likes of the European Union which instituted a continent-wide ban on three neonicotinoids.

“No amount of careful spraying of this pesticide is going to protect bees. Once absorbed by a plants neonicotinoids can remain there for its lifetime and leach into the pollen and nectar that bees collect.

“Even low doses of neonicotinoids affect bumble bees’ ability to forage and pollinate crops.

“Honey exports alone contribute around $280 million to the New Zealand economy every year, and bees play a role in producing around a third of all of our food.

“Removing pesticides that put our hard-working pollinators at risk is one thing the Government can do to ensure we maintain healthy bees and a healthy ecosystem," said Mr Browning.

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