What’s not new? EPA asks which new organisms should be deregulated
22 March 2021
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is seeking input on which new organisms should no longer hold regulatory status as “new” because they are effectively resident in Aotearoa New Zealand.
This deregulation process is conducted under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act, for species that arrived after 29 July 1998 and are now established in this country.
One such example is the Varroa mite, which was first identified in Auckland in 2000 and then spread throughout New Zealand. Scientific research was limited by regulatory barriers, so the mite was deregulated in 2011 to help researchers develop pest management options.
When this process was last run in 2018, five organisms were deregulated including a ladybird (Harmonia axyridis), a bacterium (Komagataeibacter xylinus), and a virus (Listeria phage P100).
We are now starting with a clean slate, and asking public sector organisations, Crown Research Institutes, academics, and the public to submit candidates for a new round of deregulation.
Proposing a candidate does not guarantee a change in its regulatory status. Organisms are assessed on a case-by-case basis and, once the Minister for the Environment has decided on a shortlist, further public consultation will take place. Ultimately, Cabinet makes the final decision on deregulation.
“This process is about freeing up regulatory barriers, including making it easier for scientists wanting to conduct research on these organisms, and removing the unnecessary financial costs involved,” says the EPA’s General Manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms, Dr Chris Hill.
The EPA is responsible for evaluating and managing the risks of introducing new organisms into New Zealand, under the HSNO Act. All hazardous substances and new organisms must be approved before they can be imported or used in this country.
Update: The submission period has been extended and now closes at 5.00pm on 4 June 2021.