Kiwifruit spray reassessment hearing rescheduled

The Environmental Protection Authority’s public hearing in the reassessment of hydrogen cyanamide has been postponed to early 2024.

Hydrogen cyanamide is widely used in the kiwifruit industry to help buds form by simulating the effects of frost.

The EPA is reassessing the use of this substance after identifying significant new information.

A decision-making committee (DMC) appointed by the EPA had set a public hearing date of 3–7 July 2023.

The DMC has now rescheduled the hearing to 26 February–1 March 2024, following requests from New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) and Zespri.

NZKGI said the availability of some representatives and unforeseen circumstances meant they would be unable to meaningfully participate in the hearing process if it went ahead in July 2023. Zespri supported their request.

All submitters to the hearing were consulted about the revised hearing date.

“We understand some people will be disappointed with the decision to postpone the hearing, and we acknowledge that this process has taken much longer than anticipated,” says Dr Chris Hill, General Manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms.

“The outcome of this reassessment is of keen interest to many – including kiwifruit growers and the communities in which they’re based. It’s important all submitters get a chance to be heard to ensure an evidence-based decision can be made.”

When deciding whether to reschedule the hearing, the DMC considered a range of factors, including any unfair impacts on submitters, the kiwifruit growing calendar, upcoming public holidays, and the obligation to complete the reassessment process.

Source:  Environmental Protection Authority 

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog