The first step towards eliminating the toxic agrichemical glyphosate from Tauranga's parks and reserves has been agreed by the Tauranga City Council.

Councillors agreed unanimously to trial a mixture of pine oil and fatty acids as an alternative to glyphosate to kill weeds on selected walkways and neighbourhood reserves.

Today's council meeting also agreed to investigate the use of hot water or steam as another alternative to glyphosate which is the active ingredient in commercial brands like Roundup.

The decision was supported by members of the council's Toxic Agrichemical Advisory Forum who attended the meeting.


Forum member Dr Ron Lopert urged the council to adopt the path taken by 12 countries including Germany and Mexico to ban the use of Roundup, saying there was enough scientific evidence to show it was a probable human carcinogen.

He said toxic effects impacted on included lungs, the reproductive system, the brain and nervous system, the gut and DNA and chromosomes.

"More and more countries are moving to ban or restrict its use."

The latest authority to ban its use was the California Environmental Protection Agency which said it would list glyphosate as a substance known to cause cancer.

The council agreed to review its use of glyphosate after the New Zealand Environmental Protection Agency had delivered its findings on the agrichemical.

A report to the meeting said that the World Health Organisation recently classified glyphosate as a "probably carcinogenic" following a study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, with experts from 11 countries.

Councillor Matt Cowley said there was public pressure to reduce toxicity. There was a balance between cost and effectiveness and the council was on the right transition. "We are looking at alternatives and what we are proposing is right on the button."