[21 August/Radio NZ]

The agriculture sector would face a $1.2 billion bill if controversial pesticides, Neonicotinoids, are axed. According to a report, without the pesticides, bugs would savage grain, maize silage, brassica and other plant matter. Neonicotinoids were under threat of being banned as they are linked to deaths of bee colonies. Bees are essential for cross pollination and are therefore vital to life on earth. The European Union has banned the use of three major Neonicotinoids. In New Zealand, their use is currently banned near beehives or on flowers that are likely to be visited by a bee. The Environmental Protection Agency opened a new investigation to see if tougher measures were needed. EPA Chief Executive, Mark Ross, gave some preliminary information and said a ban would have a large impact on agricultural productivity. He added the $1.2 billion cost was not solely due to crop failure or low crop productivity, but also the need to use more land for the same output, to buy insecticides that cost more, and higher prices for consumers.