Biosecurity

Auckland company Engender seeks $20m to commercialise bull sperm sexing technology

[8 December/ Stuff] Engender has announced that it would be seeking $20 million in order to commercialise its technology which would allow farmers to select the sex of their calves. Engender has pioneered new techniques to sex semen, using high-tech microfluidic and photonic chips that sorted sperm by sex. One of the likely benefits would...

Mycoplasma bovis – culling continues, MPI quashes ‘stories’

[7 December/ NZ Herald] Cattle culling has continued on the South Canterbury dairy farms infected with Mycoplasma bovis. All cows from the first two farms in the Ministry for Primary Industries’ depopulation programme had been removed for slaughter. After the infected herds had been culled, the farms would be disinfected and go into a stand...

Anti-1080 group threat to take down helicopters, poison milk

[5 December/ NZ Herald] An anti-1080 group has threatened to bring down Department of Conservation helicopters if it dropped the controversial pesticide in Taranaki’s Egmont National Park. In a letter to the Department of Conservation, the group said “this will be a war like no other” and “these hunters have more guns that you or...

Leptospirosis strain discovered in alpaca for first time floors researchers

[4 December/ Stuff] A leptospirosis strain has been found in New Zealand alpaca for the first time. The disease was more common in dairy cows and could occasionally be passed on to dairy and abattoir workers. In humans, the disease could appear as a minor flu-like sickness, but may put some people in intensive care...

Myrtle rust infected sites in Taranaki grows as summer approaches

[24 November/ Stuff] Nine new infestations of the myrtle rust disease have been found in Taranaki during the past two weeks, bringing the total number of infected sites in the region to 82 since the disease was first detected in May. Ministry for Primary Industries Incident Controller, Catherine Duthie said six of the nine new...

Mycoplasma bovis found on another farm

[15 November/ New Zealand Herald] Mycoplasma bovis has been found on another farm in the South Island. Over four thousand cattle have been culled since the disease was discovered in New Zealand in July. Since its discovery, it has been detected on eight properties in Canterbury and Otago. The Ministry for Primary Industries said one...

Auckland Airport brings out new measures to combat biosecurity risk

[14 November/New Zealand Herald] A new biosecurity X-ray machine targeting hand luggage carried by international passengers will be trialled at Auckland Airport this summer. The Ministry for Primary Industries said the new machine could potentially improve biosecurity and passenger flow at the airport. MPI Detection Technology Manager Brett Hickman noted smaller hand luggage has the...

Farmer groups looking at more biosecurity influence

 [26 October/Stuff] Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) along with DairyNZ and Deer Industry New Zealand will meet with farmers to discuss signing the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response Deed (GIA). The GIA would give the sector more responsibility in biosecurity, led by the Government. B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor said the...

‘Just a matter of time’ before foot and mouth disease reaches New Zealand

[16 October/ Stuff] DairyNZ Biosecurity Readiness and Response Manager Chris Morley said Foot and Mouth disease’s arrival in New Zealand is guaranteed and just a matter of time. Mr Morley said an MPI study conducted two years ago showed Food and Mouth disease, at a small to medium-sized outbreak, would cost New Zealand $16 billion....

Release of pest-eating wasp a relief to Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay potato and tomato growers

[11 October/ Stuff] Tomato potato psyllid (TPP), a plant-eating insect has cost the New Zealand potato industry over $120 million since its discovery in 2006 and may be eradicated due to the tamarixia trioaze wasp. The wasp, originating from the United States and Mexico, destroys the tomato-potato psyllid pest by laying an egg on the...

Catching predators to protect birds

[5 October/ New Zealand Herald] The goal of Predator Free Acacia Bay is to make the bay predator free. Backyard traps were available at a large discount at the Predator Free Acacia Bay Launch party last Saturday. The launch party included a workshop to show the smarter, safer way to protect New Zealand’s native bird...

Northland pest plant lantana finds rust fungus never sleeps

[6 October/ New Zealand Herald] The rust fungus weapon, Prospodium tuberculatum, released in Northland in 2015 by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), with support from Northland Regional Council (NRC) is taking effect, and has caused an evident decrease in the population size of the pest, Lantana. Prospodium tuberculatum keeps the population of the Lantana pest...

Anti-1080 vandalism

[2 October/ New Zealand Herald] A Department of Conservation Contractor’s car wheel flew off while he was driving due to the wheel nuts being loosened. The department believed this was part of anti-1080 protests and has reported three cases to the police where the wheel nuts were tampered. The department believes the vandalism was intended...

MPI trials holograms at Auckland Airport to spread biosecurity message

[4 September/ NZ Herald] A Ministry for Primary Industries trial will give visitors arriving into New Zealand a 3D display of biosecurity risk items and explain why they’re not wanted in the country. MPI Manager of Detection Technology, Brett Hickman, said the experiment would determine if new technology can be used to communicate to the...

Aussie alpacas stuck in NZ after quarantine mix-up

[12 August/Radio New Zealand National] A refusal by Ministry for Primary Industries to sign off on European Union import regulations has resulted in 92 Australian alpacas, worth over $1 million, being stuck in quarantine in New Zealand. The animals were sent to NZ for quarantine six months ago as EU rules do not permit the...

MPI issues statement on Rotorua mud importation

[5 August/ NZ Herald] The Ministry for Primary Industries posted a statement to Facebook saying any mud imported from South Korea into Rotorua will be treated first to ensure it is sterile following concerns about the importation of mud for December’s Mudtopia Festival. MPI is working with the Rotorua [Lakes] Council to ensure there are...

Crop and fruit devouring pest has potential to kick up a big stink

[14 July/ Stuff] New Zealand orchardists and vegetable growers hope the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) doesn’t find its way into the country, after devastating US crops and threatening crops in Europe. The bug feeds on over 300 host plants, including citrus, pipfruit, stonefruit, berries and grapes, corn, honeysuckle and roses. NZ growers and the...

Pest fence broken

 [10 July/ NZ Farmers Weekly] Ministry for Primary Industries Readiness and Response Director Geoff Gwyn said the country’s biosecurity system would be unsustainable in five years, and this big challenge must be collectively addressed with effective leadership and governance. Mr Gwyn noted the biosecurity risk that tourism brings, and said transparency is the key to...

Farmers to carry out border patrols on farms in pest plant and disease battle

[16 June/ Stuff] Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy said velvet leaf outbreaks and farmer attempts to prevent its spread shows farmers would eventually border patrol pests and diseases on their farms by partaking in more stringent inspections of vehicles and goods entering their properties. Mr Guy said everyone is more mindful of the importance...

Genetically modified petunia plants found in New Zealand

[8 June/ Stuff] An investigation by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has been prompted after unauthorised genetically modified petunia plants have been discovered as having been coming into New Zealand since 2014. The plants entered New Zealand as seeds. The importer reported the modified petunia plants after learning that several petunia varieties were being...

Parasite threatens Bluff oyster populations

[1 June/ Radio NZ] Bonamia ostreae, a parasite lethal to oysters, has appeared on two Stewart Island oyster farms. The strain first appeared in Marlborough Sounds two years ago, and a related strain of the parasite destroyed the Bluff oyster industry in the early 1990s and early 2000s. Ministry for Primary Industries Biosecurity Surveillance Manager...

More action needed to combat rust spread – MP

[29 May/ NZ Herald] Green Party Spokesman on Agriculture and Biosecurity, Steffan Browning, said the Ministry for Primary Industries had to use every effort to eradicate myrtle rust, as time to eradicate the pathogen before it became established was running out. The Green Party called for stricter controls on movement of plant material around sites...

Myrtle rust infection spreads to King Country

 [23 May/ Radio New Zealand] The new arrived Myrtle Rust fungus has now been identified at a nursery in Te Kuiti in the King Country according to the Ministry for Primary Industries.  The disease was detected after MPI traced the sale of plants from another infected nursery.  Restrictions have been placed on the property and...

Myrtle Rust: ‘It’s not too late to eradicate’

 [21 May/ Radio NZ] The Director of New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, Andrea Byrom said it isn’t too late to eradicate the myrtle rust disease, however, the time window is gradually getting shorter. The pathogen can kill Pōhutukawa, feijoa and rātā, amongst other plants. Three more sites in Taranaki were confirmed to have...