No go on trans-Tasman pesticides authority
NZPA 24 July 2006

Australia and New Zealand have agreed to work together on regulation of pesticides and animal medicines, but have ruled out a trans-Tasman authority.

Differences between farming systems and the agricultural environment in Australia “make mutual recognition of regulatory decisions in the two countries unfeasible,” said a senior New Zealand bureaucrat.

The agricultural compounds and veterinary medicines director for the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (FSA), Debbie Morris, said a memorandum signed by New Zealand and Australia would reduce the time and cost of product registrations in both countries.

The FSA and Australia’s Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) were both internationally respected regulators, she said in a statement.

“By working closer, we are able to share knowledge and expertise and better provide users of agricultural compounds and veterinary medicines with increased choice while maintaining a robust assessment process.”

Co-operation could share important regulatory information help align regulatory requirements “where it is appropriate”.

The decision to keep the pesticides and veterinary medicines regulation separate differed from the approach taken on human health: an Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Authority is being set up to regulate the safety, quality and effectiveness of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, herbal and complementary medicines, medical devices and blood products in both countries.

It will replace New Zealand’s Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe) and Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Ms Morris said in a statement that closer links on pesticides and animal medicines would provide a solid basis for the exchange of knowledge, expertise and co-operation in their regulation.