Bug’s impact on horticulture devastating, report says

27 Feb 2018

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An economic report, released today, says if the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) establishes in New Zealand it would dramatically impact New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP) as well as export revenues from horticulture.

Prepared by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), Quantifying the economic impacts of a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug incursion in New Zealand, shows GDP falling between $1.8 billion and $3.6 billion by 2038, and horticulture export value falling between $2 billion and $4.2 billion by 2038.

“A BMSB incursion would affect multiple sectors simultaneously,” Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says. “This is currently the number one pest threatening horticulture and we are fully supportive of action at the border to keep it out, including the recent moves to prevent ships contaminated with brown marmorated stink bugs from unloading their cargoes in Auckland.”

An incursion would reduce crop yields, increase costs, and lower the export value for exports. At the same time, it would impact on employment, wages, and result in a poorer standard of living, the report says.

NZ Winegrowers Biosecurity and Emergency Response Manager Dr Edwin Massey says the report confirms that brown marmorated stink bug is one of the wine industry’s highest threat biosecurity risks.

“Working through the Government Industry Agreement, we are committed to working with the Crown and other industry groups to mitigate this risk as much as possible.”

The report was commissioned by the Samurai Wasp Steering group and funded by Horticulture New Zealand, New Zealand Winegrowers, Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH), Vegetable Research and Innovation (VR&I), Ministry for Primary Industries, Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), New Zealand Apples & Pears, Summerfruit NZ, and New Zealand Avocado.

The steering group is looking at introduction of a biocontrol, the samurai wasp, to combat BMSB if it establishes in New Zealand. You can find out more about that here.

You can find out more about BMSB and what to do if you find any here.