By Rebecca Howard
July 9 (BusinessDesk) - Biosecurity New Zealand is stepping up its war on the brown marmorated stink bug.
It has provisionally released new rules that will apply to this year's stink bug season, which starts on Sept. 1 and will run until April 30.
The brown marmorated stink bug has spread to the United States and Europe from Asia. It's not yet established in New Zealand but should it settle here it would potentially decimate grapes, kiwifruit, apples, citrus and stone fruit, corn and other valuable crops.
The New Zealand Institute for Economic Research estimated that within 10 years of its arrival, total horticultural export values - considering both volume and price impacts - could fall by between $1.4 billion and $3 billion, depending on the steps that are taken after it settles.
Scores of stink bugs have been caught at the border, hitchhiking on passengers and in imported goods. Last year several cargo ships carrying vehicles were turn around following the discovery of stink bugs.
Biosecurity New Zealand wants to keep it out.
"The new rules are intended to reduce the biosecurity risk to New Zealand, by ensuring potentially contaminated cargo arrives as clean as possible,” said Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson Paul Hallett.
From July 5, interested parties that provided a submission have 10 days to contest the new rules, it said.
Under the rules, the list of countries that have requirements to treat imported vehicles, machinery, and parts before they arrive in New Zealand will rise from 17 to 33.
These countries have all been identified as having stink bug populations.
Imported cargo relating to vehicles will need to be treated offshore, including sea containers. Only non-containerised vehicle cargo has required offshore treatment in the past, said Hallett.
Biosecurity New Zealand is planning to have officers based in Europe this season to educate manufacturers, treatment providers, and exporters about the new requirements and to audit facilities.
"If our checks find any issues, New Zealand will not accept any cargo from that facility until the problem has been fixed,” said Hallett.