Greater restrictions on use of paraquat

11 December 2019

We are placing greater controls on the use of the herbicide paraquat.

Paraquat is the first active ingredient on our priority chemicals list, announced in October 2018, to be reassessed.

A Decision-making Committee appointed by the EPA held a public hearing in September, following a period for public submissions on the reassessment application earlier this year.

The committee has determined that paraquat’s use will be restricted to horticultural and agricultural applications; biosecurity will only be allowed with special permission; the maximum application rates have been reduced; and the buffer zones have been revised. The key changes will be phased in over the next 12 months, with labels to be updated within 24 months.

The committee has also decided that as of December 2020, Uniquat 250, Parable 250, Gramoxone Inteon and Preeglone Inteon can no longer be sold or used in New Zealand.

The Acting General Manager of the EPA’s Hazardous Substance and New Organisms group, Gayle Holmes, says: “Paraquat is the first chemical on our list of 39 priority chemicals for review to be decided under our new reassessment programme. The list resulted from a proactive review of over 700 chemicals that are currently approved for use in New Zealand. We now have a dedicated team focussed on progressing these reviews and reassessments.

“Just as when we receive applications for new chemicals to be imported or manufactured in New Zealand, the EPA also considers and decides on reassessment applications seeking changes to existing chemical approvals. In all cases we need to make sure that the hazards and risk that substances pose are appropriately and consistently managed, based on science, evidence and best practice.”

Paraquat is a broad spectrum contact herbicide that is used predominantly in the horticultural and agricultural sector. Its highest uses are in clover seed, lucerne, and kūmara production.

The committee's decision on the reassessment of paraquat can be read via this link.

You can read more about the public reassessment process for paraquat via this link.

Information about the list of 39 priority chemicals for review.