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Standard Manual

The four main pieces of legislation impacting on agrichemical use are:

  • Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA)
  • Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO)
  • Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997 (ACVM)
  • Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSW).

Protecting the environment is a common goal of both the RMA and HSNO. The RMA seeks to achieve this by controlling the discharge of agrichemicals into the environment, while the HSNO Act focuses on identifying and controlling hazards associated with agrichemicals and other hazardous substances.

The ACVM focuses on managing risk in terms of registration and residue limits.

The HSWA and associated regulations deals with preventing harm to people at or in the vicinity of work.

Other legislation that can impact on agrichemical use includes the Biosecurity Act (1993) and the Land Transport Rule. This legislation does not focus on agrichemical use and is not covered in these notes.


Comparative summary of the main NZ legislation influencing agrichemical use
Purpose Promote sustainable management of natural and physical resources Protect the environment, health, and safety of people and communities by preventing or managing adverse effects of hazardous substances Prevent or manage risk from use of agricultural compounds to trade in primary produce, animal welfare, and agricultural security Prevent harm or people in the workplace
Focus Site based Substance based Substance based Site based
Approach Regional Council plans and consent processes controlling activities including discharges to the environment Hazards of agrichemicals are identified and controls applied to manage any risk that may arise from them Registration conditions for agrichemicals, label information and maximum residue limits Plans developed for significant hazards showing controls that eliminate, isolate or minimise those hazards.
Main sources of information for you Regional Council air and water plans, consent status for the activity Hazard classifications, displayed on product label, Safety Data Sheets, Product Safety Cards (e.g. HazNotes) Product label Significant hazard management guidelines from Department of Labour (OSH), ACC, and some industry organisations


Copies of all Acts and Regulations are available for download from