The Environmental Protection Authority is inviting submissions on an application to release a new type of predatory insect, which tomato growers want to use to keep greenhouse whitefly in check.
Tomatoes New Zealand, an industry body that represents tomato growers, has applied to import and release the predatory mirid, Macrolophus pygmaeus.
The application says this insect has proved effective at controlling whitefly overseas and it could be used to control this greenhouse pest in New Zealand.
If the application is approved, Tomatoes New Zealand says commercial operators will rear colonies of Macrolophus pygmaeus, which would then be released into greenhouses.
Public submissions must be submitted by 5pm 7 February 2014.
The application documents can be read here.