Investigation into pesticide a positive move for bee health

The Green Party welcomes a report by the Local Government and Environment Select Committee calling for the Government to review a pesticide that has been partially banned overseas and may be responsible for bee deaths.

The report, which was tabled in Parliament today, is in response to a petition signed by nearly 6,600 people in 2008, calling for greater protection measures for bee health. It was driven by former Green Party MP Sue Kedgley.

Among other recommendations, the report says that the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) should reassess neonicotinoids, a type of insecticide used to control sap-sucking insects such as aphids. The European Union has placed controls on its use in member countries.

The report also recommends assessing surfactants – chemicals used to bind a pesticide to a plant, to determine whether they should be registered.

“This is great news for agriculture and those dependent on crops, as approximately 71 of the top 100 crop species, producing 90 per cent of the world’s food, are bee-pollinated,” said Green Party agriculture spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“We think that reassessing these chemicals, which could contribute to the declining number of bees, is a step the EPA needs to take urgently.

“We’d like them to take it a step further, and look at the total composition of pesticides, not just their base ingredients, to determine their effect on bee health and the health of the people consuming the food produced,” Mr Browning said.

ENDS

For more information:

Steffan Browning, 021 804 223

Kimberley Rothwell, Political and Media Advisor, 04 817 6723

Authorised by Steffan Browning, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

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