7 September 2017

Read online

In this issue

  • Member guide - spray incident response
  • PEQ update
  • GM Petunia update
  • Legionnaire's disease
  • Poinsettia thrips
  • Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
  • GERMAC update
  • Science strategy update
  • Snippets

Member Guidance - Spray Incident Response

Most of the time herbicides are applied in a correct manner with no off-target effects. Unfortunately, things do occasionally go awry with serious consequences for neighbouring properties.

This guidance is for use following a spray drift critical incident that has, or may result in, damaged nursery crops. The NZPPI's member-exclusive guidance was sent to members in the first week of September.

Members can contact Frances Palmer,, for a copy of the guidance, and non-members are invited to check out our membership page.

PEQ Facility Standard Update

A new quarantine facility Standard became effective in March 2017 and operators have been upgrading their facilities and training to meet the new rules. It’s been a long and trying process, with the new need for an operator manual for Level 2 facilities proving very difficult.

Work with several operators and MPI resulted in a teleconference where concerns were aired and a useful solution and path forward agreed.

MPI confirmed that 46 facilities have submitted manuals and MPI consider 33 of these were close to completion. MPI is about to begin work to get these and others signed off by 31 March 2018.

more on the PEQ Standard manual process

GM Petunia Update

Since June, our work with MPI has been focused on identifying and removing GM petunias from the New Zealand market and working on new import health standards.

MPI's incursion response has completed its 2017 activity and are satisfied that no GM varieties are currently under production in New Zealand. They will keep a watching brief on varietal testing developments overseas, checking newly identified GM varieties against the NZ variety list we've built with producers. MPI have been complementary of the support and cooperation provided by both NZPPI and producers.

Consultation on proposed changes to the Petunia Import Health Standard has recently completed. All imports must be accompanied by a GMO test certificate from a MPI approved laboratory.

more on the Petunia import health standard and GM Petunia

Legionnaire’s Disease

Spring’s a time associated with an increased incidence of Legionnaire’s Disease and at least one strain Legionella longbeachae, is associated with gardening. It is widespread and present in soil, and in particular composts and potting mixes, whether home-made or manufactured. Each year a number of people contract this form of Legionnaire’s Disease. While most experience no more than mild flu-like symptoms, some become seriously ill. Tragically it can be fatal.

more on Legionnaire’s Disease and how you can manage the risk to staff and customers

Poinsettia thrips detected in an Auckland greenhouse

Last month, Poinsettia thrips were detected in an Auckland greenhouse. We are asking growers and retailers to check house plants and greenhouse vegetable and fruit plants to help determine if the thrips have spread. Poinsettia thrips are an Unwanted Organism in New Zealand, and can feed on a wide range of host plants, causing damage to greenhouse crops such as house plants and cut flowers, tomatoes, and capsicums. Overseas it's also been reported on impatiens and chrysanthemum.

... more on Poinsettia Thrips

Poinsettia Thrips are 1.7mm in length and have a pale band across the body

UNWANTED - Brown marmorated stink bug - BMSB

Hitch Hiker Risk - keep an eye out

In winter, the stink bug hibernates in sheltered spaces; in buildings and vehicles for example. Thus cargo, containers, vehicle imports, personal luggage and mail are risk pathways for entry into New Zealand, especially during our spring to autumn seasons.

If you've purchased equipment, machinery, pots or other goods that have been recently sourced from Europe, Asia and the US, please check for any sign of BMSB hibernation. This includes personal goods such as items purchased over the internet - see MPI's web-page and fact sheet.

If you find one, or suspect you've found one, catch it, photograph it and call MPI’s Exotic Pests and Diseases hotline on 0800 80 99 66!

GIA partners have begun work to refine the eradication options for a response, and in August NZPPI attended a BMSB Council workshop (as an observer) which included presentations from top US researchers talking about BMSB biology, integrated pest management, and biocontrol options such as the samurai wasp.


GERMAC (plant imports) met late in August. Key matters discussed included options to improve the lengthy process for importing new plant material (while maintaining appropriate biosecurity protection), novel solutions to the limited Level 3B PEQ space, progress in signing off on new PEQ facility manuals and an update on next generation diagnostics.

MPI are hiring two additional staff in this area to enable the revision of Import Health Standards for plant germplasm. Further information is being made available by MPI to set up procedures for getting offshore facility approval to enable smoother importations.

... more on GERMAC

Plant Producer Science Strategy

Following May’s Science and Innovation Summit, we’ve engaged Bill Dyck (who spoke on the issue at conference – link to his paper) to develop a strategy to guide future investment opportunities and priorities. The work is now underway and the Steering group met mid-August. That discussion identified four key areas

  • Plant health / quality
  • Soil health
  • Sustainability
  • Knowledge transfer tool

Bill’s now working on the approach to these and some potential projects and we expect to have an early draft in several weeks.

If you’ve a science and innovation thought, get hold of one of the Steering group members:

  • Andrew Harriosn
  • Nicola Rochester
  • John Liddle
  • Geoff Thorpe
  • Terry Wearmouth
  • Mike Riordan
  • Mark Brown
  • Malcolm Woolmore
  • Stephen Burton

We’re grateful for AGMARDT support in funding the project to develop the Strategy.

Like us on Facebook

Like the NZPPI Facebook page and be regularly informed on the latest industry news and event updates. Plus stay up-to-date with trends, products and technical papers from overseas.


  • Members in the News - John McCullough of Egmont Seeds on Seven Sharp - watch here
  • PMAC (plant exports) met late August – Executive Summary here

©2017 NZPPI
New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated
PO Box 3443, Wellington 6140
Level 5, 23 Waring Taylor Street, Wellington
P: 04 918 3511 | F: 04 499 9589
E: | W:





- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -