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Tauranga council to move on toxic sprays

By John Cousins

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Residents are upset about the plants on the sand dunes being sprayed and killed by the council. Photo / George Novak
Residents are upset about the plants on the sand dunes being sprayed and killed by the council. Photo / George Novak

Tauranga City Council proposes to stop reviewing and start implementing controversial policies controlling the use of toxic sprays.

The controversial issue of weed control using toxic agrichemicals in public areas was due to be addressed by the council today.

A report to the city vision committee said the policy was in line with 20 other councils and was the most restrictive on which sprays could be used.

Councillors will be asked to cease the policy review except for the approved list of agrichemicals.

The focus will instead switch to implementation. This will include developing a monitoring framework to guide implementation of the policy, proactive public reporting on ways the council reduced the use of agrichemicals, review the relationship with the Toxic Agrichemical Advisory Forum, and review the process for amending the list of approved agrichemicals.

Issues raised in the review by the forum was that the policy was not meeting the primary goal of protecting public health. The forum complained about a lack of scientific literacy among council staff and said its greatest concern was the use of glyphosate (RoundUp), which had the potential to impact on human and environmental health.

Council staff said the forum was not a balanced advisory group and was not science-based. Staff said they lacked in-house scientific expertise to assess chemicals and relied on government assessment.

Staff were also concerned the list of approved agrichemicals was too restrictive.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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