The common goal of protecting New Zealand’s native species brought together Iwi, the crop protection industry and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to safeguard native plants and animals.
Māori, industry groups, regulators, and the crop protection industry joined forces to determine if surrogate species testing of pesticides was effective for protecting New Zealand’s native species. This involves adopting the results of tests from comparable species and using them for native plants and wildlife. The resulting report by the Native and Surrogate Species Project supports the data and industry processes for testing.
New Zealand's treasured native species must be protected from unintended harm from any hazardous products. Extensive scientific research shows that the use of surrogate species test data, such as rainbow trout and common exotic plant species, are suitable indicators for taonga species such as native trout and NZ Flax (harakeke).
“In its role to protect New Zealand’s environment, the EPA has shown commendable leadership via the Kaupapa Kura Taiao unit to work through this technically and culturally significant policy discussion,” says Agcarm chief executive Mark Ross.
The crop protection industry remains focussed on environmental management and allowing beneficial flora and fauna to prosper. The knowledge that industry processes act as robust risk assessment indicators is reassuring.
This project has demonstrated the value of working together across all interested parties.
“Analysing information and consulting on what works best for New Zealand takes time,” says Ross of the three-year lifespan of the project, “but it also produces the best result”.