Providing earlier warning of biosecurity risks by establishing a biosecurity intelligence team within government is a good idea, says Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman.
In announcing the establishment of Biosecurity New Zealand today, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor also said that an intelligence team would be equipped to provide earlier signals of biosecurity threats to New Zealand.
“This is good news for the horticulture sector where a biosecurity breach is the biggest threat to the ongoing viability of our growers,” Chapman says.
“Being forewarned about where biosecurity risks are coming from and the likely pathways into New Zealand means that we can take actions to prevent the arrival of pests and ensure that the necessary protections are available at the border.
“Both the Prime Minister and the Biosecurity Minister have categorised biosecurity as the number one risk facing the primary industries in New Zealand. The creation of Biosecurity New Zealand and in particular, the enhancement of its role with the creation of the biosecurity intelligence team, is giving teeth to this categorisation.
“As with all restructuring, whether it achieves its aims will only become apparent with time. It is important, as the Minister has said, for all New Zealanders to be aware of biosecurity risks and to be part of the whole of country’s response. The creation of Biosecurity New Zealand will hopefully provide that leadership for New Zealand.”