Getting ready for biosecurity incursions – we need all New Zealanders
Everyone in New Zealand has a key role to play finding and reporting unwanted pests that can wreak havoc on our lifestyles and our economy. Number one public enemy today is the brown marmorated stink bug. If you see one, the poster below explains what to do.
Earlier this week, along with the Ministry for Primary Industries, the pan-sector Horticulture Industry Forum conducted a simulation of a brown marmorated stink bug incursion in New Zealand. We need to be prepared in advance of this pest making its way into our communities.
This stink bug will not only cause millions of dollars of losses to commercial horticulture, it will destroy your vegetable gardens and ripe fruit, then take up residence in your home in large clusters over winter. It cannot be killed by residual sprays, and once established it multiplies fast.
We are preparing by practicing the eradication in New Zealand of a breeding population: we need to know how we can mobilise industry, communities, iwi and Government to destroy a breeding population before it gets established and spreads throughout the country. Early detection is the most important ingredient. Finding it is a job for everyone. So please help.
Some of the lessons learned from our simulated exercise were:
- The quicker we know we’ve got brown marmorated stink bugs, the greater the chance we can eradicate them before they get established.
- We need the support of all New Zealanders to find the bug and to assist us in eradicating it. This is a whole country effort.
- Once found, we need to conduct thorough searches in the immediate area to see if there are any more bugs, or their eggs, around. Knowing where it is and how far it has spread is vital to making sure the bug does not get established.
- Government and industry cannot do this alone. The assistance of local councils, iwi, communities and businesses is the only way we are going to destroy the bug before it gets established. We need to consult and work with the community where the bug is found.
- Getting enough people on the ground looking for the bug and destroying it as fast as possible, and also keeping that number of people working is a massive logistics exercise.
It also became clear that destroying the bug is very expensive. Industry will significantly contribute to that cost and provide resources, as the cost of managing the bug forever will be much more expensive and drastically reduce our productivity. We continue to develop a strong partnership with Government to meet the challenge of biosecurity incursions. This partnership, along with simulated incursion exercises preparing all of us to meet these challenges, are the best way to ensure we can successfully eradicate unwanted pests.
- Mike Chapman, CEO