Hawke's Bay Regional Council's chairman says he will push to ban fruit growers near Hastings and Napier from carrying out burn-offs over winter.
Rex Graham says the privilege is being abused.
"When growers had a special exemption it was about burning diseased wood.
"They are misusing the privilege which they have been given."
Since May 1 this year, Hawke's Bay Regional Council has issues 41 infringement notices and is currently undertaking two prosecutions regarding illegal burning.
"The prosecutions are for plastic and other things in the burn pile," Graham said.
"The abatement notices and the fines are for burning wood in conditions it's not allowed to burn in."
Graham said he believed the problem was increasing.
He said council has asked staff to step up surveillance and prosecutions over illegal burning.
"We need a little bit of stick in this process.
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"We are hoping that people step up and respect the environment and respect other people's environment, but if they don't we are going to step up on them."
He said while most of the community do follow the rules, there are rouge operators who do not seem to be, and council is not going to tolerate it any more.
In a talking point to Hawke's Bay Today Graham acknowledged he used to burn prunings on his orchard and lifestyle property.
"I also used to smoke in bars, restaurants and on planes and used organic phosphate spray.
"We have all grown up a bit since then and recognise our folly."
Burning outdoors in the Hastings and Napier airsheds is a prohibited activity under the Regional Resource Management Plan, however horticulturists have an exemption.
The airsheds cover Napier and Hastings, as well as outlying areas such as parts of Twyford, Whakatu, Mangateretere, Jervoistown and Meeanee.
Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers Association president Ben James said Graham's comments were a "kneejerk reaction."
"We've acknowledged it with the Regional Council, that we know there are some growers who are not following best practice."
He said best practice standards were set in 2016, and the industry was currently working to refresh them.
"To go from absolutely no issue, to 'I'm going to revoke all of your freedom to burn and all of this extended privilege', without engaging with industry is little bit bullish."
He said years ago growers, including Graham, used to throw all sorts of things on their fires.
He said now industry needs to understand only trees should be burnt, something he said the majority of the industry was pretty good at.
He said they were working on education such as encouraging people to drop leaves off the tree before burning it.
"Industry cops a fair bit of flak over this, but actually domestic fires and domestic burning in Hawke's Bay is responsible for more PM10 pollution in the air than any orchard fire is."
He said the majority of orchardists follow best practice.
"In general, as growers, we are really good stewards and custodians of the environment.
"In terms of primary producers we lead the way in terms of looking after the environment.
"To be copping a bit of flak over this, not unduly, but a bit prematurely, before we've had a chance as an industry to really get on top of it and stamp it out, is just a little bit on the nose."