This week is biosecurity week. A timely reminder to everyone about understanding what the risks are, being on alert and knowing how you can play a part in protecting our vital biosecurity system.

Myrtle rust cc

What is biosecurity?

Biosecurity is New Zealand’s ability to protect itself from any pests or diseases that may threaten our environment, economy and wellbeing.  Protection includes stopping any potential threats at the border and managing or removing any known threats within our environment.  An example of a biosecurity activity is having your bags checked at the airport after arriving from overseas.   

Looking after our future

Protecting our natural environment is important both for our own enjoyment and for supporting our economy.  Any biosecurity threat can damage our reputation and have serious consequences, including our ability to export our produce and may even impact on people’s jobs.  It also threatens our native wildlife and puts our own health at risk.

To understand more about why biosecurity is important watch the following YouTube video from Biosecurity New Zealand here

Play your part

We’re all responsible in helping protect our environment from any pests or diseases.  There are different ways we can help, from knowing what to look out for and reporting anything that may be a potential threat to the right authorities.    

Some current threats in New Zealand include:

Mycobacterium bovis (M.bovis) – a bacteria that has now has been found in New Zealand and can cause serious conditions for our cattle impacting on our beef and dairy industries.

To know what to look for you can download a handy guide here.  If you see any of signs contact a vet immediately or ring the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) reporting line 0800 80 90 66

Kauri Dieback is a disease that infects and kills our native kauri trees.  The disease spreads easily and it only takes a pinhead sized amount of infected soil on someone’s shoe to carry the disease further.    

Ways to stop the spread of kauri dieback include cleaning your footwear every time you enter or leave a forest with native trees and keeping to designated tracks.  You can find out more information about kauri dieback here.

Myrtle rust is a fungal disease that affects plants in the myrtle family – this includes pōhutukawa, mānuka, and rātā. 

To know what to look for you can find some photos here.  Ring the MPI reporting line 0800 80 90 66 if you see anything suspicious.

Make sure you share this information with your whānau, workmates and friends.  Keep the MPI reporting line 0800 80 90 66 saved in your phone and take photos of anything that looks suspicious.    

Let us know in the comments if you have any ideas on how to protect our environment from pests and diseases, or if you know of anything else we all need to be on alert for.