Information on Councils use of herbicides
Christine Woods made this Official Information request to Whangarei District Council
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From: Christine Woods
Dear Whangarei District Council,
Can you please advise the number of complaints received regarding herbicide and pesticide spraying in the District.
Can you please advise what monitoring of compliance with Growsafe practices is carried out by Council.
Can you please advise what testing is carried out on herbicide and pesticide residue following Councils maintenance practices.
Being that the continued and ongoing blanket spraying of herbicides is not a sustainable management practice can you please advise what work is being done by Council to improve this practice.
Whangarei District Council
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Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.
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Whangarei District Council
From: Andy Sondalini
Whangarei District Council
Tēnā koe Ms Woods,
I refer to your request of 2 September for information related to
Council’s monitoring, testing, and management of herbicide spraying. Your
request was referred to council’s Parks and Recreation Department and the
Northland Transport Authority for consideration and the answers to each of
your questions is as follows.
o Can you please advise the number of complaints received regarding
herbicide and pesticide spraying in the District.
Council has received 83 requests related to herbicide or pesticide
spraying since 1 September 2021 to 1 September 2022. Of these, 11 items
are complaints, and 12 are ‘No Spray’ requests with the remaining 40
requests for spraying to occur in specific areas.
o Can you please advise what monitoring of compliance with Growsafe
practices is carried out by Council.
Council undertakes both roadside and park area spraying. Contractors for
both types of spraying are required to supply all chemicals, labor and
equipment to perform the requirements of the contract specifications and
be a certified spray applicator.
All contractors staff are required to hold current qualifications.
Contractors for park and recreational area spraying are required to hold
current and appropriate Growsafe qualifications.
Council roadside spray contractor staff engaged in the application of
chemicals for the contract must comply with the NZTA C21:1997
specification and hold a current Class 1B, Total Vegetation Control
Chemical Applicators Registration Certificate for commercial application
of chemicals, issued by the New Zealand Agricultural Education Trust.
Contractors are also required to keep spray records covering a wide range
of information such as date, location, time, what is applied, weather
o Can you please advise what testing is carried out on herbicide and
pesticide residue following Councils maintenance practices.
Currently no testing is carried out by Council on herbicide and pesticide
residue following Councils maintenance practices.
o Being that the continued and ongoing blanket spraying of herbicides is
not a sustainable management practice can you please advise what work
is being done by Council to improve this practice.
The use of Glyphosate/Roundup is currently approved for use in New Zealand
by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2019, who state; “… Based on the
balance of scientific evidence, we consider that provided users follow
safety instructions on the labels of products containing glyphosate, it
can be used safely to ensure no harm comes to the people or the
Council is actively exploring and assessing the viability of alternatives
to vegetation spraying with Glyphosate/Roundup. But at present the use of
these products is still Councils main approved treatment for vegetation
Council park and recreational areas maintenance contracts specify
mechanical techniques to control vegetation where possible (rather than
spraying). Council works with contractors to find better ways to carry
out spraying that improves results while reducing quantity of chemical
applied. For example Council recommends that Glyphosate is applied at 90%
the recommended concentration for general weed spraying, which has proven
to maintain effective control.
We advocate ‘green’ solutions where possible and try new technologies,
this includes trailing Foamsteam, which uses hot foam to burn off the
plants. These are useful on annual weeds, but has limited value on
perennial weeds and the technology has a significant cost implication.
WDC supports (financially and expertise) the NRC in investigating
biocontrol of weeds and once approved, the distribution of the agents.
I hope this information is of some assistance in responding to your
request. If you believe we have not responded appropriately to your
request, you have the right by way of complaint, under section 27(3) of
the Act, to apply to the Ombudsman to seek an investigation and review of
Official Information Requests Team
Whangarei District Council | Forum North | Private Bag 9023, Whangarei
0148 | www.wdc.govt.nz
WDC Call Centre 09 430 4200
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