Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Amendment Bill - First reading

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

It is a pleasure to speak on the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Amendment Bill. This bill amends the Act of the same name, which currently protects confidential information made in support of an application for an innovative trade name registration for 5 years after the application is decided.

The bill extends the period by 1 year for new uses or reformulations subsequently added to the registration for up to a maximum of 8 years. The bill strikes a balance between incentivising the registration of products that meet the primary sector’s needs and encouraging competition.

I am going to give a couple of examples in a minute but I think that one of the underlying things we have to understand in New Zealand is that we have a very small market and we often have unique needs and uses required here for agricultural compounds and veterinary medicines. If we do not have an ability to incentivise that investment to get products registered for new uses or reformulations, then they simply will not happen.

An example is Pinus contorta, or wandering pine, or wilding pine—depending on what school you went to. This is a serious environmental weed and affects 1.7 million hectares in New Zealand, which is estimated to cost $1.2 billion to the economy.

Currently, the way that that weed is dealt with is by cutting and poisoning with glyphosate, which is a very labour-intensive exercise, whereas it is well known that 2,4-D is very effective on this weed, but it does not have a registration so it cannot be used.

The cost of getting that formulation registered for that particular use is quite high and no chemical company has been prepared to step up and do that because it will spend the money and other companies can use that particular formulation and benefit from its investment.

That is a very good example of one of the formulations that would be of great benefit or a beneficiary from this particular bill. There are others in medicines and so on, but I believe that I have made my point.

I think that the bill is an excellent bill, I am very happy to commend it to the House, and I am looking forward to hearing other people get in behind this bill. Thank you.