Biosecurity awareness needs work

More work needs to be done to help New Zealanders understand the true impact of biosecurity threats, says Minister of Agriculture and Biosecurity Damien O’Connor. 

In a baseline survey done as part of the Biosecurity 2025 programme and released today, more than 60 per cent of New Zealanders have a good understanding of biosecurity and think it is important, but only 2 per cent think they would be personally affected by a biosecurity breach. 

“The importance and enormity of the biosecurity task means it’s important for every Kiwi to pitch in, to protect our critical primary industries and way of life. 

“Biosecurity 2025, which I endorsed earlier this week, aims to create a biosecurity movement and build a team of 4.7 million (all New Zealanders) to take action on biosecurity risks at home, at work, when they travel and within their communities. 

“This is timely as the Government and farming industries attempt to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis to protect our national herd and economic base – resulting in the postponement of school calf days and calf fundraising events across communities. 

“Earlier this year we turned around ships carrying used cars and machinery – and the dreaded Brown Marmorated Stink Bug that would not only decimate our horticulture sector but infest our homes and gardens. 

“The emergence and spread of Myrtle Rust and Kauri Dieback across our native flora has raised the understanding of biosecurity risks facing New Zealand, but it’s clear more needs to be done.” 

The research also included a business survey that focused on two key groups: transport, distribution and logistics; and primary producers. Both groups have significant biosecurity risks associated with the day-to-day running of their businesses. 

“It was great to see that 71 per cent of transport, distribution and logistics businesses are actively managing pest and disease risk but we need to work more closely with primary producers, as only 30 per cent are actively managing pest and disease risk. 

“The research shows New Zealanders need more awareness around biosecurity and provides a baseline on which we can improve,” Damien O’Connor said. 

Note to editors: Biosecurity 2025 is a partnership between individuals, organisations, Māori, and central, local and regional government. Its aim is to make New Zealand’s biosecurity system more resilient and future-focused to protect New Zealand from pests and diseases. 

Find out more at:

Biosecurity 2025 public survey report: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/29852

Biosecurity 2025 business survey report: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/29849

Biosecurity 2025 programme: www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/biosecurity/biosecurity-2025