EPA action is critical to unlocking innovation, National’s Horticulture spokesperson Sam Uffindell says.
“Part of the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) role involves reviewing materials used in horticultural production. This is important because it enables us to protect our environment and develop new crops and materials to promote growth and reduce things such as nitrate loss and crop disease.
“Under National, the EPA administered 533 release decisions for crop protection products from 2012-2016. Under Labour it has dropped to just 374 release decisions over nearly six years.
“Worse yet, this number has decreased every year since 2019, with only 42 release decisions being administered in 2022, half the number the EPA administered under National in their worst performing year.
“It’s not as if resourcing has reduced under Labour; staff numbers and funding have increased, making the lack of outcomes even more concerning.
“Some applicants are waiting up to five years, and a NZIER report said the delays were costing the sector significantly.
“Our primary sector has the opportunity to develop world-leading solutions that boost output, combat diseases and reduce climate emissions. Sadly, these advances are being held back.
“A National government will ensure the EPA delivers the scientific advancements growers are calling for. We will put our growers, our people and our environment first and will ensure the performance of the EPA reflects this.”
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