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Stink Bug Agreement signed

Stink Bug Agreement signed

13 July 2017: The Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is one of the biggest threats facing New Zealand’s horticultural sector. It threatens the livelihoods of primary sector producers, and would impact on the quality of life of all New Zealanders if ever able to establish here.

An agreement to reduce the damaging impact of BMSB incursion was signed today by a number of horticultural sector groups and Government at the Horticulture NZ Conference in Tauranga.

BMSB Council Chairperson, Alan Pollard, says this means primary industry organisations and the Ministry for Primary Industries can work together to prepare for and reduce the impacts of the pest.

“While BMSB populations have never taken hold in New Zealand, it’s a sneaky pest that spreads fast and has been caught at the border on passengers and in imported goods many times,” says Mr Pollard.

“If given the opportunity, BMSB has the potential to cause billions of damage to the New Zealand economy. They attack a wide range of New Zealand crops such as grapes, kiwifruit, apples, and stone fruit, corn and many other valuable crops” said Mr Pollard. “In addition, BMSB can ruin peoples’ gardens and when it gets cold, BMSB tends to bunch up in large numbers in dark spaces in homes and other dwellings, making it a huge public nuisance.”

The agreement, under the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity readiness and response (GIA) sets out operational requirements for readiness and response activities and cost-sharing arrangements between Government and affected industries in the management of the BMSB threat. It enables joint decision-making between the parties and sees them all working together to reduce the impacts of the pest to the affected industries.

“By working together under GIA, Government and affected industries can achieve far greater outcomes for the benefit of all New Zealanders” says Mr Pollard. “This operational agreement enables us to harness the capabilities of both Government and industry groups to fight BMSB head on. It also gives industry groups a seat at the decision-making table and ensures that an industry perspective is included when decisions are made.”

Initial signatories to the operational agreement are Pipfruit NZ, Kiwifruit Vine Health Ltd, New Zealand Avocado Growers Association, Tomatoes New Zealand, Vegetables New Zealand, NZ Winegrowers, and the Ministry for Primary Industries. It is expected that other industry groups impacted by BMSB will sign the operational agreement in the future once they have joined the GIA partnership.

ENDS
About the Government Industry Agreement (GIA)
GIA operates as a partnership between industry groups and Government to manage pests and diseases that could badly damage New Zealand's primary industries, our economy, and our environment. It aims to improve biosecurity outcomes and give everyone the confidence that the best decisions are being made to manage and mitigate biosecurity risks. For more information, visit www.gia.org.nz.
About the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug BMSB)
BMSB is a voracious eater of horticultural produce. A wide range of crops would be unmarketable if damaged by BMSB (some growers in the USA, where the bug is established, have reported losses of up to 95%). BMSB is resistant to many insecticides, making it difficult and expensive to control. The risk of BMSB entering New Zealand is considered very high. BMSB can hitchhike on inanimate objects such as cars and shipping containers from Asia, USA and Europe. If it were to enter NZ it could establish here due to NZ’s highly suitable climate and abundance of host material. Its entry and establishment would result in significant production impacts to many horticultural industries. BMSB feed on a wide range of plants with seeds or fruit including ornamental plants and vegetables. They pierce the outer surface of the fruit and suck out juices while injecting saliva, this causes dimpling on the fruit’s surface and rotting and corking of the flesh. They seek shelter in houses/protected areas in autumn/winter. BMSB is now present across three major continents. It is native to Asia and found in China, Japan and Korea. In 1996 it invaded USA where it rapidly spread and is now present in over 43 states. In 2007 it was detected in Switzerland and has now spread to nine countries in Europe and is increasing in numbers and spreading to rural areas including Italian kiwifruit orchards. South-eastern and south-western Australia and much of New Zealand have been identified as having a highly suitable climate for BMSB.

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