The bare bones of the HSNO Act

In 1996 the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act became part of the research, science and technology landscape of New Zealand. Its role is to protect the environment, and the health and safety of people and communities, by preventing or managing the adverse effects of hazardous substances and new organisms. This broad role also includes putting biological control agents, including those for vertebrates, through a rigorous risk assessment. However, too often both scientists and technologists fail to view the lie of the land and only “discover” their HSNO Act requirements at the end when research is completed and the funds are all spent. It can be a rude awakening to discover that the research failed to address the key requirements of the HSNO Act. All those working with biocontrol agents need to be cognisant of the HSNO Act and to build its key requirements into their research proposals and programmes. The key requirements are to investigate whether there is any significant displacement of native species within natural habitats, deterioration of natural habitats, adverse effects on human health and safety, adverse effects to New Zealand’s inherent genetic diversity, or if the organism could be a parasitic or a vector of human, animal or plant diseases (unless that is the purpose), and that Maori consultation has taken place. It is also desirable that real costs and benefits have been assessed. The incorporation of the HSNO Act into science planning will not only facilitate the smooth passage through the assessment procedures but may help to identify, at an early stage, biocontrol agents’ whose risks would be considered too great to release and thus allowing the redirection of resources to other biocontrol agents.

Author Ridley, G.
Date 2005-05-02
Year 2005
Secondary title 13th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference
Place published Wellington, NZ
Publisher Landcare Research
Pages 287-287
Region NZ
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