What’s New

What’s New?

You need to be aware of any relevant changes to accepted industry practices, agrichemical registrations, industry codes of practice and the legislation around agrichemical use.

For example, HSNO Approved Handler certificates for agrichemicals can only be renewed if the Test Certifier (who issues these certificates) is confident that you know about any relevant changes that have occurred to the legislation since your previous test certificate was issued.

So what changes have occurred? NOTE: This page was last updated on 9 November 2016

Changes to health and safety legislation

The new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 came into effect on 4 April 2016 bringing new responsibilities for businesses. New regulations are being prepared which will cover use of hazardous substances such as agrichemicals in the workplace. These are due to take effect 1 July 2017.

WorkSafe established

In 2014 a new organisation WorkSafeNZ was established and it has taken over responsibility for the managing the Approved Handler (and other test certificate) system.

Environmental Protection Agency established

ERMA is now EPA (change occurred July 2011) – the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA), who used to administer the HSNO legislation, has been restructured and is now part of the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Much of the ERMA literature has been rebranded and a new website (www.epa.govt.nz) established. This change in structure has not changed the requirements and expectations of the HSNO legislation.

Interpretation of HSNO regulations

Several small, but important, changes and interpretations have occurred to the HSNO regulations since it was implemented for agrichemicals in 2004.

  • When HSNO was implemented no one was clear as to exactly what the term ‘available‘ meant for Approved Handlers. Available in now defined as ‘contactable by electronic means, or in person, within a reasonable period of time’.
  • The term ‘Wide Dispersive Use‘ is another that has been clarified with respect to requirements for Approved Handlers.These definitions now mean that Approved Handlers do not need to be physically present on a property at the time of application of Approved Handler chemicals. However, they do need to have provided instruction and to have visited the intended application site.

An Approved Handler is required when a pesticide is:

  • Highly toxic to people (in HSNO classes 6.1a, 6.1b or 6.1c or 6.7a)
  • Toxic to the environment (ecotoxic in classes 9.1a, 9.2a, 9.3a or 9.4a) and used in a way that may harm the environment. Such use is considered wide dispersive where there is potential for the pesticide to affect other than the intended area
  • Applied onto or into water. More details are available in this February 2012 newsletter from the EPA.

Aquatic agrichemical use

A 2006 amendment to the 2004 transfer of agrichemicals into the control of HSNO specifically prohibits the application of any pesticide onto or into water, unless the pesticide contains as its active ingredient glyphosphate, diquat, s-methoprene or Bacillus thuringiensis (sub-species israelensis) and the pesticide is under the control of an Approved Handler.

In March 2013 additional herbicides containing the active ingredients metsulfuron-methyl, haloxyfop-R-methyl, imazapyr isopropylamine or triclopyr triethylamine salt were also approved by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for use on aquatic pest plants. However, use is approved only under strict controls as this use is not specified on the label. The controls include:

  • Obtaining permission from the EPA under HSNO
  • Notification of affected parties and some water quality monitoring may be required
  • Detailed annual reporting to EPA on aspects such as where, how, how much, why and results from sediment and water quality monitoring.

These controls are in addition to existing controls for storage, handling and disposal. For further details refer to the EPA information sheet.

Agrichemical reassessments

Over 24 reassessments of hazardous substances have occurred since HSNO was implemented and approximately half of these were for agrichemicals. From your perspective, changes resulting from agrichemical reassessments will be communicated through the withdrawal of products from sale, or changes to product labels. However, where agrichemicals have been withdrawn, you will need to ensure that existing stocks are used within the phase out period or are professionally disposed of.

  • Agrichemicals no longer available:
    • Endosulphan (insecticide)
    • Azinphos methyl (insecticide)
    • Methyl parathion (insecticide)
    • Methyl arsenic acid (Pasma herbicide).
  • Agrichemicals with changed controls:
    • clopyralid herbicide (eg Versatill, Clout)
    • Hydrogen cyanamide dormancy breaker (eg Hi-Cane).

New rules for insecticides containing organophosphates and carbamates (OPCs) as active ingredients come into effect on 1 July 2015. You should read all about these changes – they will affect you!

Labelling change

Until 2012, all agrichemical labels were required to have a shelf life statement of two years. A significant number of products have a shelf life in excess of this. However, a large amount of product unsold in the two year period had to be sent back for testing due to the expiry date. This was very inefficient as generally the product was suitable for use..

At the request of AGCARM (Agricultural Chemicals and Animal Remedies Manufacturers) the regulator, the ACVM Group (Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicine Group), changed this requirement. Now all products will list the date of manufacture (D.O.M.). Some products will also have a shelf life statement.

This means that:

  • If a product does not have a shelf life statement, these products are stable for at least two years after the date of manufacture under normal storage conditions.
  • Products that expire within two years of the date of manufacture will include a shelf life statement to this effect.

For products manufactured more than two years ago you should check suitability with your supplier

Changes to industry/work place practices

Nozzle and spray adjuvant technology has advanced significantly over the last five years. There is now a wider range of low drift Air Inclusion nozzles available on the New Zealand market. The use of these types of nozzles for spray drift mitigation is becoming more common, especially in kiwifruit for the application of hydrogen cyanamide (now an industry requirement for use of this chemical) and on boom sprayers.


No changes to codes of practice: There have been no changes to New Zealand Standard 8409:2004 (Management of Agrichemicals). It is likely that the code will need to be reviewed following planned changes to HSNO and HSW legislation.