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Vigilance Needed to Protect NZ's Biosecurity

Media Release

27 September 2001

Vigilance Needed to Protect New Zealand’s Biosecurity

A national programme aimed at encouraging people to be more vigilant about biosecurity was launched in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington today by the Minister for Biosecurity Hon Jim Sutton supported by Deputy Prime Minister Hon Jim Anderton and Hon Marian Hobbs, Associate Minister for Biosecurity and Minister for the Environment.

The programme, entitled Protect New Zealand, has been designed to build public awareness of the importance of protecting New Zealand against economic and social consequences arising from an increasing range of biosecurity threats.

Mr Sutton said that New Zealand is facing increased biosecurity risks and we need to be vigilant. The recent cases such as the varroa mite and the dispersion of the painted apple moth are two examples of the dangers we face. Foot and Mouth is another disease that could potentially cripple New Zealand’s economy.

“One serious new pest could threaten our economy, our health, our jobs and our lifestyle. We have witnessed the effect of Foot and Mouth in Europe. It has been catastrophic for Britain. This must not happen in New Zealand. Introduced pests pose a threat to the nation’s future well-being. We’ve all seen the extensive damage to our native flora and fauna by possums and other exotic species,” said Mr Sutton.

“New Zealand has one of the most comprehensive biosecurity systems in the world, but these systems are under more pressure from increased trade and travel. Our protection measures must evolve and develop accordingly. These threats extend from primary production and can impact on human health and our environment.”

“New Zealand is special, and with a concerted effort by all New Zealanders, we will improve our chances of protecting New Zealand from the ever-widening array of risky organisms,” he said.

Planning of the programme began before the recent outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Europe, though it provides a good example of the risks, which face New Zealand.

“Protect New Zealand will provide a national focus on the actions and activities we all have to take to protect ourselves”, said Mr Sutton.

A key element of the programme is the promotion of the Protect New Zealand brand, which will be championed by Max the Beagle, an animated cartoon character modelled on beagle detector dogs at airports. Max will feature in a series of television advertisements and on the Protect New Zealand website.

Dr Barry O’Neil, Group Director of MAF Biosecurity Authority, says the primary focus of the campaign is to raise awareness of the risks introduced pests and diseases pose for New Zealand - across all sectors.

Dr O’Neil acknowledged the enormous challenge of managing these pests, or preventing them from entering the country, but said New Zealanders must act responsibly.

“Do not bring restricted goods into the country. Inform visiting family and friends that New Zealand takes its biosecurity seriously. If you find any strange bug or plant check it out on the Protect New Zealand website then call 0800 809 966 if you suspect you have found an exotic pest or disease,” said Dr O’Neil.

The Protect New Zealand campaign covers biosecurity awareness in the marine/aquaculture, horticulture, agriculture, forestry, conservation, environmental and health sectors. It targets awareness of pre-border, border and post-border biosecurity measures and responsibilities.

The launch of the Protect New Zealand campaign coincides with the release of a national issues paper: Developing a Biosecurity Strategy for New Zealand. Produced by the Biosecurity Strategy Development Team, it forms the basis of nation-wide consultations that will feed into a final Biosecurity Strategy for release in December 2002.

This evolving strategy has involved stakeholder groups working with key government and sector agencies to identify specific issues relevant to New Zealand’s biosecurity.

The paper provides a comprehensive outline of issues relating to increasing biosecurity risks and is the first stage of a programme to develop an over-arching Biosecurity Strategy for the nation.

For further information on the Protect New Zealand campaign, visit the website www.protectnz.org.nz

Media contact details:

Gita Parsot

MAF Biosecurity Authority

Telephone (04) 498 9806

ATTACHMENTS...

BIOSECURITY STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT TEAM

Media Release - embargoed till 8am, Thursday 27 September 2001

Comprehensive new Biosecurity Strategy being developed

The Biosecurity Strategy Development Team today released a comprehensive outline of issues related to the ever-increasing biosecurity risks that threaten our economy, health and environment.

The Issues Paper: Developing a Biosecurity Strategy for New Zealand will form the basis of nation-wide public consultation during the next three months. It was developed after a series of workshops and meetings held during April, May and June with groups and organisations interested in biosecurity, and with key government agencies.

The Issues Paper, launched alongside the Protect New Zealand campaign about the risks of exotic pests and diseases, is the first stage of a programme to develop an over-arching Biosecurity Strategy for the nation. The Biosecurity Strategy Development Team is seeking public input into development of the Biosecurity Strategy in order to review, enhance and widen the scope of our biosecurity protection.

A nation-wide series of 60 workshops, public meetings and a national hui will be held over the next three months to get input into the strategy. A draft strategy will be released for further public comment next April and be finalised at the end of 2002.

“As a country we already do a lot to protect ourselves from risks posed by pests and diseases,” says Biosecurity Strategy Development project manager, Dr Malcolm Crawley.

“But increasing trade and travel, and climate change, bring greater biosecurity risks. Those risks from pests and diseases threaten our economy, our health, our environment, our entire way of life. The potential costs are enormous.

“Our plan is to develop a comprehensive Biosecurity Strategy which will provide an overall direction for biosecurity in New Zealand. It will help us assess and manage biosecurity risks not only to primary production, but also to human health, the environment, and Maori taonga for the future.

“The Biosecurity Strategy is likely to integrate, strengthen and set our priorities for biosecurity programmes. It will also provide a framework for biosecurity decision-making and legislation and could recommend new biosecurity structural arrangements. As there is a lot at stake, we are encouraging everyone interested in biosecurity to contribute. We welcome their views.”

For more information about the Biosecurity Strategy Development Project and for a copy of the Issues Paper, view the website at www.biostrategy.govt.nz , call free phone 0800-STRATEGY (0800 787 283) or email: bsdteam@biostrategy.govt.nz For more about Max the Beagle and the Protect NZ campaign see www.protectnz.org.nz

Media contact: Dr Malcolm Crawley, Biostrategy Development Team, ph 04 460 8778

Schedule of Public Meeting Locations follows on next page.

BIOSECURITY STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT TEAM

Biosecurity Strategy - Schedule of Public Consultation Meeting Locations

Venues and times of public meetings and the national hui will be advertised in public notices of newspapers:

Hamilton Wednesday 10 October

Tauranga Thursday 11 October

Whangarei Tuesday 16 October

Auckland Wednesday 17 October

Auckland Thursday 18 October

Blenheim Tuesday 23 October

Nelson Wednesday 24 October

Greymouth Thursday 25 October

Porirua Tuesday 30 October

Palmerston North Thursday 1 November

Masterton Wednesday 31 October

Gisborne Monday 5 November

Napier Tuesday 6 November

Rotorua Wednesday 7 November

New Plymouth Thursday 8 November

Dunedin Tuesday 13 November

Queenstown Wednesday 14 November

Invercargill Thursday 15 November

Christchurch Tuesday 20 November

Timaru Wednesday 21 November

Background Information

27 September 2001

www.protectnz.org.nz

Introduction

This briefing paper provides additional information on the “Protect New Zealand” biosecurity awareness programme. Please note visuals including the logo can be downloaded via the website www.protectnz.org.nz. To access these, go to the general section of the site and select “downloads’ where a username and password are required. These are:

Username: downloads

Password: beagle

What is “biosecurity”?

Biosecurity is the protection of New Zealand’s economy, people’s health, environment, flora and fauna, and Maori taonga from risks posed by pests and diseases. It includes preventing the arrival of new pests and diseases and eradicating and controlling those already present.

The Biosecurity Council is a Ministerial advisory group. It includes representatives from:

- Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

- Department of Conservation

- Environmental Risk Management Authority

- Ministry of Health

- Ministry of Fisheries

- Regional Councils

- Ministry for the Environment

- Ministry of Research, Science and Technology

- Te Puni Kokiri

It also has a member representing environmental organisations and a representative of primary production groups.

New Zealand does a great deal to protect itself from biosecurity risks. Its biosecurity programme is one of the best in the world.

“Protect New Zealand” targets awareness of pre-border, border and post-border biosecurity measures and responsibilities.

What issues do we have to deal with?

Increasing number of travellers 3.5 million passengers by air

20,000 by sea annually

Increasing amounts of imported goods 350,000 containers annually

Increasing amounts of mail 52 million mail items annually

Changing climatic conditions Increasing temperatures mean that some pests which were previously unable to survive New Zealand winters are now able to do so.

To demonstrate the risk:

- More than 2,500 ships visit New Zealand’s ports every year. Four to six million tonnes of ballast water is discharged into New Zealand waters every year.

- 70% of the introduced marine species in New Zealand probably arrived attached to vessels’ hulls.

- In the year ending March 2001, MAF seized 8,196 meat and poultry, 2,302 dairy products and 143,710 plant product items. This equates to an average of 422 items intercepted each day.

- Southern Saltmarsh Mosquito transmits diseases like the Ross River virus. $4 million for eradication in Tairawhiti region alone. If established, epidemics are likely to occur throughout New Zealand.

Some Overseas Cases We Don’t Want Here and the Estimated Costs

- Controlling the invasive zebra mussel in the United States will cost around US$5 billion over the next 10 years.

- The Foot and Mouth crisis in the United Kingdom has cost Britain more than $30 billion:

- Tourism is losing $30 million per month

- Farming is losing $3 million per week

- More than 1600 cases diagnosed

- More than three million animals have been killed

Key Developments

- Pre 1996 biosecurity focused on the agricultural sector.

- December 1996 appointment of a Minister for Biosecurity. The portfolio was broadened beyond the agricultural sector.

- 1997 Biosecurity Council was established bringing together all government agencies for a more co-ordinated approach.

- February 2000 Biodiversity Strategy launched confirming the critical role of biosecurity in protecting our diversity.

- June 2000 the Government announced the funding for the development of a Biosecurity Strategy to ensure an incorporated strategic approach for the whole of New Zealand.

Current Approach

- The Government currently allocates $123 million dollars to New Zealand’s biosecurity programme that includes $34 million for possum control.

- The Government has dedicated an extra $6 million this year and a further $8 million for the next three years to strengthen measures to ensure Foot and Mouth Disease does not reach New Zealand.

- Current research has identified areas where the message is not getting through and these results have helped sculpt a new innovative approach to managing biosecurity issues. The “Protect New Zealand” biosecurity awareness programme aims to maximise the Government’s investment into reducing biosecurity risks.

- The Biosecurity Strategy Development Team is working with key agencies to develop a strategy to cope with the evolving biosecurity challenges facing New Zealand.

New Zealand is worth protecting?

New Zealand is a very special place.

- Of New Zealand’s native species:

ƒ{ 85% of our trees, ferns and flowering plants

ƒ{ 25% of all Birds

ƒ{ All species of weta

ƒ{ 60 reptiles

ƒ{ Four remaining frog species

ƒ{ Two bat species

ARE ONLY FOUND IN NEW ZEALAND!

- We are a small island nation, known world wide for our clean green image, and unique flora and fauna.

- Less than 10% of the world’s pests and diseases exist here.

New Zealand’s sea-based and primary industries account for more than half of our export earnings.

- Increasing trade and travel is placing extra pressure on our biosecurity defence systems designed to keep invaders out.

- One serious new pest could threaten our economy, our health, our jobs or our lifestyle. The biosecurity focus is broader than primary production and includes human health and indigenous species.

- Our aquaculture, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and tourism industries could all be seriously affected.

Elements of “Protect New Zealand”

- “Protect New Zealand” is the biosecurity awareness programme designed to educate and raise awareness of New Zealand’s biosecurity activities across all sectors.

- It covers biosecurity in the marine/aquaculture, horticulture, agriculture, forestry, conservation, environmental and health sectors.

- The programme provides a framework for biosecurity education and awareness that can be accessed by central and local government agencies, industry groups, pathway operators, retailers, non-government agencies and the general public.

- “Protect New Zealand” features a new overarching logo to help unite and focus the programme.

- Max the Beagle - a state of the art, animated character - is the messenger to assist in the education and awareness of the new programme.

- www.protectnz.org.nz is a one-stop shop for biosecurity information.

- The programme will involve an umbrella TV advertising campaign that features Max the Beagle.

- A “Protect New Zealand” Week and International Conference are planned for May 2002.

Aims and Approach of “Protect New Zealand”

- “Protect New Zealand” aims to increase public awareness of the meaning and importance of biosecurity in New Zealand and to change the attitudes and behaviours of people to reflect an individual responsibility for biosecurity.

- The Key Messages of the programme are simple:

ƒ{ New Zealand has something worth protecting

ƒ{ Protection is possible

ƒ{ Everyone has a part to play in protecting New Zealand

- “Protect New Zealand” will involve working collectively with a wide range of organisations to help disperse these messages.

- The programme targets all people living in or visiting New Zealand. Specific campaigns are being developed to target high risk groups or groups most likely to come in contact with biosecurity risks, such as gardeners, importers, marine users, travellers, people involved in outdoor pursuits and specific ethnic groups.

Developing a Biosecurity Strategy for New Zealand

- The Biosecurity Development Team has released an issues paper that provides a basis for nation-wide consultation on a Biosecurity Strategy for New Zealand. The Final Biosecurity Strategy is due for release in December 2002.

- To date, the process has involved stakeholder groups working with key Government and private sector agencies to identify specific issues relevant to New Zealand’s biosecurity.

- The issues paper provides a comprehensive outline of issues relating to increasing biosecurity risks. The Biosecurity Strategy Development Team is seeking public input into development of the Biosecurity Strategy, in order to review, enhance and widen the scope of our biosecurity protection.

For visual information including the logo, images of Max the Beagle, and other pictures please download via www.protectnz.org.nz. To access these, go to the general section of the site and select “downloads’ where a username and password are required. These are:

Username: downloads

Password: beagle

CONTACT DETAILS

“Protect New Zealand”, MAF Biosecurity Authority

Gita Parsot (04) 498 9806

Biosecurity Strategy Development Team

Malcolm Crawley (04) 460 8778

www.protectnz.org.nz

27 September 2001

MEDIA KIT For “PROTECT NEW ZEALAND”

and Biosecurity Strategy

Please find enclosed:

- “Protect New Zealand” - media release

- “Protect New Zealand” - background information

- “Declare It - Protect New Zealand” - brochure

- Biosecurity Strategy - media release

- Biosecurity Strategy - schedule of public consultation meetings

- Biosecurity Strategy - background information

- Developing a Biosecurity Strategy for New Zealand - brochure

Downloadable versions of the “Protect New Zealand” Logo, and Max the Beagle are available on the website - www.protectnz.org.nz. To access these, go to the general section of the site and select “downloads’ where a username and password are required. These are:

Username: downloads

Password: beagle

The Issues Paper: Developing a Biosecurity Strategy for New Zealand and other information about the Biosecurity Strategy is available on the website

www.biostrategy.govt.nz

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Gita Parsot

MAF Biosecurity Authority

Telephone (04) 498 9806

Dr Malcolm Crawley

Biosecurity Strategy Development Team

Telephone (04) 460 8778


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