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Foreign invaders and unwanted substances

Ever since people first landed in Aotearoa, we have brought with us a raft of other plants and animal species. Some have been a lifeline; others have become a scourge. Now we know the devastating impact of rabbits and gorse, and the use of DDT, but in the past the possible effects of hazardous substances and new organisms weren’t anticipated.

In the lead-up to 1996 New Zealand’s approach was inconsistent with international best practice. Hazardous substances were controlled in an ad hoc way by different agencies, often with little regard to the environment.

The Hazardous Substance and New Organisms Act, known as HSNO changed that. It brought New Zealand into line with international standards and introduced a more consistent approach.

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