Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Biosecurity works for NZ agriculture but not forestry


The recent arrival of myrtle rust in New Zealand has led many to question whether our biosecurity system is really world-class, particularly in keeping plant diseases out of the country.

New evidence from the Bio-Protection Research Centre, and published in PLoS Biology, has for the first time assessed just how well our biosecurity system stacks up.

New Zealand is in a unique position, having kept records of plant diseases since the late 1800s. “This allows us, for the first time anywhere in the world, to piece together the long-term trend in plant disease arrivals and whether biosecurity measures have had an impact,” says Prof Philip Hulme, of the Bio-Protection Research Centre, based at Lincoln University.

Despite increasing numbers of international tourists and growing global trade, the number of new plant diseases appearing on our crops each year has been declining since New Zealand began improving border biosecurity in the 1980s.

“The Government and industry invest millions of dollars in keeping plant diseases out of the country, but this is the first evidence to suggest there is a tangible return on this investment,” says Prof Hulme. “Our results suggest that without effective biosecurity the number of plant diseases found in New Zealand each year would have increased in step with the level of trade imports. The fact this isn’t the case is a significant outcome.”

But the findings are not good news for all industries, as agriculture rather than forestry reaps the greatest benefits.

“The combination of government investment in agricultural quarantine and an industry-based seed certification scheme could explain the decline in the arrival of plant diseases in the cereal and pasture sectors,” says Prof Hulme. “In contrast, forestry biosecurity has come late to the game, especially with imports of untreated wood being permitted until relatively recently, and so diseases of forest trees are still increasing at a similar rate to our level of trade imports.”

Prof Hulme said it was important to realise that even when they were effective, biosecurity measures only slowed down the rate of pests getting into New Zealand, rather than stopping them altogether.

“We are still getting diseases coming in, but at a much slower rate than we would have, given the huge growth in international trade,” he says. “Thus while targeted investment in biosecurity may be effective in reducing plant diseases arriving through trade, there is still scope for improving border biosecurity and expanding disease surveillance.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Joseph Cederwall: On Why the News Crisis Gives Us Hope

The News Is Dead, Long Live The News!

Scoop has exciting plans ahead for 2018 and beyond. The news media industry is coming to a critical juncture point. The increasing dominance of the digital platform monopoly giants and new developments such as Artificial Intelligence are contributing to disrupt the industry, render old ad-based models unviable and reshape the way we consume news. However, in all this crisis we see opportunity to create a new, more resilient and more decentralised future for independent news media.

There are encouraging signs globally that the crisis in trust facing the media is breathing new life and impetus into the challenge of ensuring a future with serious independent news coverage - i.e. news of real ‘public interest’ and quality investigative journalism in support of robust debate and a thriving democracy. More>>

 

DHB Offer Rejected: NZNO Seeking Urgent Mediation

The latest revised DHB MECA offer has been strongly rejected by NZNO members. However, Industrial Services Manager Cee Payne says that as nursing and midwifery is an essential service, mediation or facilitation will begin with urgency. More>>

ALSO:

Building Bridges: National's Climate Commission Support Welcomed

Generation Zero welcomes the recent announcement by Opposition Leader Simon Bridges that he wants to take the politics out of climate change and work with other Parties to create an Independent Climate Change Commission. More>>

ALSO:

PSA Win: Living Wage For Core Public Service Employees

PSA members in the public service have secured a big victory - with all employees winning the right to be paid at least a Living Wage. State Services Minister Chris Hipkins says there will be a one-off adjustment in pay from 1 September, with all employees receiving an hourly rate of $20.55 ($42,744 per annum). More>>

ALSO:

Tourist Tax: International Visitor Levy Consultation Opens

Plans to ease the cost burden on communities and ratepayers for tourism-related infrastructure through a proposed a levy on international visitors have been announced by Minister of Tourism Kelvin Davis today. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Waikeria Prison Decision

The hard part is yet to come. When and how does the government propose to change the laws and regulations to do with bail and parole, both of which remain key drivers of New Zealand’s bizarrely high – and economically unaffordable – rates of imprisonment? More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages