Biosecurity

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...

Iwi and beekeepers ‘in the dark’ over myrtle rust

 [9 May/ Radio New Zealand] Beekeepers and iwi in Northland say they have been kept uninformed about myrtle rust, an air-borne plant disease that could devastate the region’s honey industry. Myrtle rust was found in a nursery in Kerikeri last week, and a second case was confirmed recently on the same street. The Ngati Hine...

Myrtle rust ‘incredibly difficult to actually eradicate’

[5 May/ Radio New Zealand] Myrtle rust, a new plant disease, has been discovered in Northland and has the potential to cause catastrophic damage to New Zealand’s native trees and economic position. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has established a biosecurity operation in Kerikeri, after a nursery owner found the disease on his young...

Deadly myrtle rust rang alarm bells for nursery owner as soon as he saw it

[5 May/ Stuff] Kerikeri nursery owner Tom Lindesay discovered myrtle rust on his pohutukawa seedlings, causing his nursery to become the centre of an operation by biosecurity officials to contain the fungus. It is, however, likely that thousands or millions of the myrtle rust spores have been distributed by the wind. Mr Lindesay’s myrtle rust...

Fungi interest mushrooms as annual forays hit north’s forests

 [8 May/ New Zealand Herald] Scientists have begun their annual fungal foray in South Hokianga this year. The foray has taken place in different parts of New Zealand every year for the past three decades. Fungal foray Facilitator Tom Davies said the five-day foray would start on Monday with about 30 mycologists and amateurs participating....

Guava moth explosion devastating Auckland’s feijoas

 [26 April/ Radio New Zealand] Auckland Council’s biosecurity team has reported an explosion of the guava moth this year which is attacking feijoa trees across the region.  The guava moth is not a new pest – having first been found in Northland in 1997 and it is now established in pockets in Auckland and further...

Thailand sends first cooked duck to New Zealand

 [12 April/ Global Meat News] Charoen Pokphand Foods is the first Thai food company to take advantage of New Zealand’s March 2017 policy change allowing imports of cooked Thai duck for the first time. The company expects export value for duck products to increase by up to 25 percent this year, in part due to...

TBfree investment now paying off for farm areas

[20 March/ New Zealand Herald] With the goal of full eradication of bovine TB from New Zealand by 2055 in sight, the farming industry’s investment in TB eradication is paying off as programme managers lift restrictions on stock movements in formerly sensitive areas, and adjust the requirements for time-consuming TB testing. These changes will affect 2.3...

Red-clover casebearer moth found in Canterbury

[3 March/ Stuff] The red clover casebearer moth has been found in two clover crops in Mid Canterbury. In Canada, the moth is considered a severe pest, and is considered an infrequent pest in Europe. The Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) are unsure of the moths effect on clover seed production, but has sent a...

Pest problems continue to plague native ecosystems – study

 [16 February/ Radio NZ Country] A new study has found that, globally, there are two new pest invasions every day. Professor of plant biosecurity at Lincoln University’s Bio-Protection Centre, Philip Hulme led a study with 44 international scientists which has linked human activities, particularly agricultural expansion, to pest increases. Professor Hulme expressed concern with the...

Bio-security systems under threat as trade increases

 [19 February/ Stuff] An increase in imports has increased the pressure for New Zealand’s bio-security system to eliminate pests. Recently in Christchurch, a huntsman spider was found after boxed clothing items from Australia landed in a sportswear store. Canterbury Museum spider expert and curator of natural history Cor Vink said that as imports increase, there...

European insects to be released to tame invasive weed

 [14 February/ Radio NZ Country] The challenges of managing Tutsan, an invasive weed that is a major issue on agricultural and conservation land in the Central North Island, will see the release of a moth and a beetle from Georgia to help kill the weed.  The Environmental Protection Authority approved the release and researchers have...

Feijoas under threat from crop-destroying moth

 [Biosecurity /Radio New Zealand News] A feijoa grower has found the crop-destroying guava moth breeding in the plant’s flowers.  The moth, which was first found in Northern New Zealand around 20 years ago, attacks the feijoa as it makes a pinprick hole as it burrows into the fruit, ruining the product.  Very little is known...

Big rise in black beetle numbers this summer

 [16 December/ Business Day: NZ Farmer] AgResearch Senior Scientist, Pip Gerard said climate change was to blame for an increase in the number of black beetles, with the population of the pest nearly doubling in Waikato this year. Mr Gerard explained that the rise in temperatures over the past few years was creating a more...

Potatoes NZ latest to join biosecurity agreement

[12 December/ Business Day: NZ Farmer] Potatoes New Zealand has become the latest organisation to join 11 industry groups in a Government Industry Agreement to protect New Zealand’s borders from unwanted pests. Potatoes New Zealand Chairman, Stuart Wright said potato growers had experience of a pest incursion and wanted to have a say in pest...