Conditional Release


A conditional release approval allows a new organism to be released with controls.

Doubtful Sound Seals (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

A conditional release application must include the identification of the organism, any likely inseparable organisms, all the possible adverse effects of the organism on the environment, the affinities of the organism with other organisms in New Zealand, the potential use for the organism, and information on all occasions where the organism has been considered by an overseas government or organism and the results of that consideration and the controls the applicant proposes the organism wold be subject to on its release. 2299


The EPA must consider the “minimum standards”, that is, whether the new organism is likely to cause: 2300

  • Any significant displacement of any native species within its natural habitat; or
  • Any significant deterioration of natural habitats; or
  • Any significant adverse effects on human health and safety; or
  • Any significant adverse effect to New Zealand’s inherent genetic diversity; or
  • Disease, be parasitic, or become a vector for human, animal, or plant disease, unless the purpose of that importation or release is to import or release an organism to cause disease, be a parasite, or a vector for disease.

When making a decision, the EPA must take into account: 2301

  • All the effects of the organism and any inseparable organism.
  • The ability of the organism to establish an undesirable self-sustaining population.
  • The ease with which the organism could be recovered or eradicated if it established an undesirable self-sustaining population.
  • The controls that will be imposed on the approval.
  • Whether the controls are likely to be effective in meeting the objective of the controls.

A conditional release approval may be granted if: 2302

  • The new organism is likely to meet the minimum standards above, and
  • There is sufficient information available to assess the adverse effects of the organism, and
  • After taking into account the five matters listed above, the positive effects of the organism outweigh the adverse effects of the organism.

The EPA may impose any controls on a conditional release approval, including: 2303

  • controlling the extent and purposes for which organisms could be used,
  • requiring any monitoring, auditing, reporting, and record-keeping,
  • imposing any obligation to comply with relevant codes of practice or standards,
  • requiring contingency plans to be developed to manage potential incidents,
  • limiting the dissemination or persistence of the organism or its genetic material in the environment,
  • requiring the disposal of any organisms or genetic material,
  • limiting the proximity of the organism to other organisms, including those that could be at risk from the conditionally released organism,
  • setting requirements that must be met for any material derived from the organism,
  • imposing obligations on the user of an approval, including levels of training or knowledge, limits on the numbers of users who may hold an approval, and the persons that they could deal with in respect of the organism,
  • specifying the duration of the approval or of a control before requiring a review, and the nature of that review.

A conditional release approval has a term of 5 years unless the approval specifies an alternative duration or explicitly states that the approval does not expire. 2304  When the conditional release approval expires, the new organism must be disposed of, unless another approval has been granted. 2305

The EPA may review a control imposed on a condition release approval if the review is to amend a control so that it better meets the objective of the control, or, the control included a review requirement. 2306

  1. Section 38A Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996

  2. Section 38BA Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996

  3. Section 38C(2) and (3) Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996

  4. Section 38C(1) Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996

  5. Section 38D Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996

  6. Section 38E Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996

  7. Section 38F Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996

  8. Section 38G Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996

Last updated at 12:22PM on February 25, 2015