Businesses pledge to protect New Zealand

A group of 50 New Zealand companies have signed a first-of-its-kind pledge to protect New Zealand from pests and diseases.

The Biosecurity Business Pledge – which includes some of New Zealand’s biggest businesses, including Fonterra, Auckland Airport, Goodman Fielder, Countdown and Mainfreight – was launched today by participating businesses and Biosecurity Minister Damien O‘Connor.

As a nation that depends on trade and tourism, and a country whose lifestyle is linked to our unique natural environment, having a culture of everyone taking responsibility for biosecurity is vital,’’ Mr O’Connor said.

“Our primary sector is worth over $46.4 billion dollars annually and tourism is worth over $39 billion.  The economic benefits of that flow through to all New Zealanders and we have to protect it.

“The aim of the pledge is to take a more proactive approach to biosecurity by improving the partnership between government and businesses, to help prevent unnecessary costs and disruptions for Kiwi businesses, communities and the wider New Zealand economy.

CEO of participating company Miraka, Richard Wyeth, said the pledge initiative was created by business for business.

“The new pledge network will provide increased support to businesses in driving their own proactive biosecurity activity with staff, suppliers and customers. It’s good business risk management. It’s also part of caring for the communities we live and work in.

“As businesses signing the pledge we’re making a commitment to more actively integrate biosecurity into our business activities and supply chains,” he said.

The latest KPMG Agribusiness Agenda, released earlier this year, revealed biosecurity was ranked as the top issue for New Zealand business leaders for the 10th year in a row.

“Biosecurity remains a priority for the Government,” Mr O’Connor said.

“I’d like to thank the inaugural businesses for the leadership they have shown in creating the pledge. Today we have taken a major step forward. Taking a proactive approach to biosecurity will help protect New Zealand’s unique natural environment, the New Zealand way of life and our economy for future generations,” he said.

Notes for editors

About the pledge

Businesses pledge to play their part in the efforts to prevent pests and diseases from getting into New Zealand, or helping to stop their spread if they do get here. Businesses commit to being an active part of New Zealand's biosecurity team of all New Zealanders by integrating proactive biosecurity practices into their operations and supply chains.

They commit to:

  • actively seek to understand and manage the biosecurity considerations associated with their business activities;
  • promote a culture of proactive biosecurity management within their operations, across their business, around their board tables, and across their teams;
  • incorporate biosecurity into their procurement policies that guide the selection of goods, travel, logistics, and service providers;
  • take opportunities to support their customers, staff, suppliers and stakeholders to understand the importance of biosecurity and what good biosecurity practice looks like; and,
  • approach biosecurity with the view that it is everyone's responsibility, that risk is best managed offshore, and that they will actively engage with the Ministry for Primary Industries to support better biosecurity outcomes for New Zealand.

Benefits to participating businesses

Businesses understand that they each face risks associated with biosecurity, but that risks are often influenced by someone else’s supply chain.  The pledge recognises that there is share risks and benefits associated with biosecurity practice, and promotes a ‘good neighbour’ culture.

A key benefit for businesses of joining the pledge campaign will be improved early engagement with Biosecurity New Zealand on emerging biosecurity issues and risks.

There will also be more opportunities to work in good faith together to improve outcomes for individual businesses (as well as the environment and the overall New Zealand economy) through quarterly biosecurity updates and more regular heads up alerts.

Businesses will also be able to positively promote their membership of the pledge, and their commitment to supporting and protecting the New Zealand economy, environment and way of life, with staff, suppliers and customers.