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Applying for general release or release with controls

Completing the application forms

Section 5: Risks, costs and benefits (release and release with controls)

This is one of the most important sections of the application. In this section it is necessary to outline the potential risks and costs of introducing the biological control agent (negative effects), and the benefits of the release (positive effects). When considering risks, reference to Section 36 Minimum Standards of HSNO is useful. So the applicant needs to consider whether the biological control agent could cause significant displacement of any native species within its natural habitat (e.g. via non-target parasitism, competition, predation, hybridization etc.). The meaning of the word 'significant' in this context has not been defined, but needs to be considered case-by-case.

The benefits of the proposed introduction are often not covered well by applicants, especially the economic benefits. This is particularly difficult if the target is an environmental pest rather than a pest in the productive sector. Benefits can include improved production, reduction in costs of chemical control, safety to employees etc. It can be useful to consult similar successful application that can be found on the EPA website.

When considering both risks, costs and benefits the form asks applicants to provide an indication of the likelihood that each identified risk and benefit will be realized, and if it was, the magnitude of the adverse/beneficial impact. This helps also to identify the costs. Also it is important to address in this context is who will bear the risk and cost, and who will benefit.

Also to be considered are any adverse impacts on society and communities, human health issues that could result from the release of the new organism, the cultural impacts, and NZ's international obligations (e.g. Convention on Biological Diversity).

The full results and interpretation of any laboratory testing, such as host range testing that has been carried out in containment should be given in this section, to support the risk assessment in particular. Reports, publications etc. of such tests should be provided with the application along with the results from stakeholder consultation.