Biosecurity Update

28 February 2018

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Taranaki Myrtle Rust Controlled Area Notice Lifted

NZPPI welcomes yesterday’s announcement from MPI to lift the Controlled Area Notice (CAN) from the North Taranaki region. This ends restrictions that have been in place on the movement of myrtaceae plants since June 2017.

Lifting the CAN means that plant producers in this region can resume the sale and distribution of plants unrestricted, outside the region. Restrictions on plant movements will remain for individual properties with Restricted Place Notices in force.

NZPPI’s members in the Taranaki region are pleased to see this milestone in the crisis but are reflecting on the enormous impact it has had on them. Taranaki has been ground zero for myrtle rust and most plant producers in the region were affected by the crisis in some way or other.

The decision to lift the CAN perhaps signals a move away from crisis mode and hopefully towards strategies for the long-term management of the disease.

Taranaki locals will welcome the removal of notice boards from roadsides and other visible signs of the crisis which have been prominent in the region for months.

The removal of the CAN in Taranaki does not mean that the myrtle rust crisis is over. MPI will continue to respond where the disease is found in a nursery property. The message to plant producers and nurseries everywhere is to be aware and prepared with a plan!

Proposed changes to NZPPI myrtle rust protocols - have your say

NZPPI has reviewed the myrtle rust protocols to ensure that they are fit for purpose and meet the needs of industry as we prepare for the long-term management of this disease.

We are seeking feedback and suggestions on the proposed changes from plant producers, distributors, retailers and landscapers. We will consider this feedback before releasing the new version of the protocols.

The proposed changes include:

  • Adding a survey of surrounding areas of the nursery (hedges etc) as part of the monitoring process.
  • Set a frequency for surveys of not more than 14 days (in line with experience about the speed of development of the disease).
  • The number of plants selected for monitoring is reduced from 20 – 30 per 100m2 to - small areas, 3 containers or 5 tubes per 10m2 of bed or bench; and large areas, 5 containers and 10 plugs per 100m2.
  • Surveys and fungicide treatments are to be recorded.

The nursery management and distribution protocols have been amended to include a check that a current Myrtle Rust Declaration is in place for plant suppliers and distributors.

See the consultation version of the protocols here.

Provide your feedback here or email (027 622 9255)

The closing date for feedback is 6 March 2018.

NZPPI Myrtle Rust Register

NZPPI is proposing that a registration process is put in place to recognise businesses that have implemented the protocols and can provide evidence of this. This would allow plant buyers to check the status of their suppliers and enable them to purchase plants from plant producers with confidence.

Businesses that have implemented the protocols would submit a declaration to NZPPI, along with evidence of their monitoring and management activities.

NZPPI will maintain a register of declarations on our website. When businesses trade plants, they can check the status of their suppliers on the website. We would recommend that plant distributors and buyers consider the status of their suppliers as part of their purchasing decisions.

It is intended that plant producers, distributors and retailers that grow or handle myrtaceae species are listed in the register.

We are seeking feedback from industry on this proposal before 6 March 2018.

Provide your feedback here or email (027 622 9255)

NZPPI Myrtle Rust Website

NZPPI has established a webpage for myrtle rust. The purpose of this new site is to provide industry information and updates and enable easy access to documents, forms and other resources. You can take a preview of the webpage here before the webpage is launched later this week.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is one of the biggest biosecurity threats to the horticulture industry. If it were to establish in New Zealand there would be massive disruption to the movement of plants resulting in massive financial costs to plant producers.

BMSB is native to Asia but has spread to other parts of the world, including North America and Europe in recent years. Its population is increasing in these countries and the effects of the pest have been devastating in those regions.

New Zealand has managed to keep BMSB out, despite the increasing number of finds at the border in recent months. Over 1500 BMSB have been found this year in cargo ships travelling here with vehicles and equipment from countries where BMSB is established. Most of the interceptions have been of dead bugs, but many have been live with the potential to survive and establish a population here.

NZPPI is part of the BMSB Council, along with other horticulture industries and MPI. This group is working on a strategy to detect and eradicate BMSB if it is found here.

BMSB Report Highlights Devastating Impacts

An economic report, released today, says if the brown marmorated stink bug 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.

©2018 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
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