If you import, manufacture, sell or use fertilisers in New Zealand, the ACVM requirements outlined here apply to you.

(These products may also have requirements under other legislation such as the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996, the Animal Products Act 1999, and the Biosecurity Act 1993.)

Defining fertiliser

Under the ACVM Act, a fertiliser is a subset of agricultural compound that is used to sustain or increase the growth, productivity, or quality of plants or, indirectly, animals through the application (to plants or soil) of nutrients and fertiliser additives*.  

Fertilisers and fertiliser additives do not include substances that are plant growth regulators that modify the physiological functions of plants.

* A fertiliser additive is a non-nutrient substance added to a fertiliser, or applied by itself to land or plants, that:

  • improves the supply and uptake of nutrients or
  • increases biological activity or
  • modifies the physical characteristics of a fertiliser to make it more fit for its purpose.

When a fertiliser is not a fertiliser

If you make claims about your product that go beyond the definition of a fertiliser above (for example, saying the product will control bud break), the product is no longer considered a fertiliser. It becomes an “agricultural chemical” and will likely require registration. See our section on agricultural chemicals for information on registration.

If you are unsure of your product's status under the ACVM Act, we can do a class determination for you. (There is a fee for this service.) Information on this can be found on the Overview page (link in the left-hand menu).

For commercial imports of fertilisers you will need a Class Determination letter to present to border officials before the product will be released. (There is a fee for this service.) For more information on class determination, go to our Overview page (use the left-hand menu).

For private imports of fertilisers check with us first to get advice as to whether or not the product fits the definition of a fertiliser. An email confirmation can be provided for clearance at the border. 

Requirements for fertilisers

Even though your fertiliser is exempt from registration you must still comply with the requirements in the ACVM (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011 (link at right).