Review of Biosecurity NZ Cargo Pathway

Roger Smith - Head of Biosecurity New Zealand and Chief Operations officer for the Ministry for Primary Industries has announced a review of Biosecurity NZ cargo pathway. This is being driven by Unyielding growth in imports and shipments into the country having put New Zealand’s borders under increasing pressure from a range of pests, most notably the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug which has been detected in record numbers this season. As this and other threats increase, there are heightened expectations from the Government and industry to protect the nation from biosecurity incursions and to ensure that our biosecurity infrastructure is up to standard and ‘fit for purpose.
Against this backdrop, we need to take action to resolve a number of issues, including: 

  • Increased delays in issuing clearance certificates
  • Difficulty managing the number of participants in the cargo pathway
  • A trust based model that may have insufficient verification and audit to ensure compliance
  • A possible lack of infrastructure in New Zealand (treatment providers, port space etc)
  • Bottlenecks at the New Zealand border

The fact is, some of the cargo processes we use to manage biosecurity risk are nearly 20 years old. While we have made a number of changes to these processes over the last few years, there is more that can be done to protect New Zealand from biosecurity risk. We are in the process of commissioning a third-party to undertake a thorough review of all aspects of the current inbound cargo system, including, but not limited to: 

  • Pre-border (off-shore) inspections and mitigations
  • Transitional facilities (capability and capacity, including accredited persons)
  • Lodgments and inspections
  • Information we require from importers
  • Customs Brokers and Agents responsibilities
  • How we deploy our resources across the system 

Goals and objectives

  • To acquire more accurate information about how each step of the cargo pathway is performing
  • To identify solutions other than simply adding more officers and detector dogs
  • To better share the responsibility for managing biosecurity risk with those who are importing, transporting and undertaking clearance of risk items
  • To push biosecurity risk as far off-shore as possible
  • To determine what further changes should be made to the transitional facility system.

Next Steps 

We are in the process of designing what the review will look like, including how to involve industry. The review has a completion date of 31 May 2019 and in order to meet this deadline significant effort, resource and engagement will need to occur.


Review of Approved Transitional Facilities
Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor has announced a crackdown on transitional facilities following recent discoveries of (BMSB) brown marmorated stink bug.
O'Connor said there were 4518 facilities around New Zealand where containers of imported goods were checked for biosecurity risks, but these were expected to be whittled down to fewer numbers as the standards of each were to be increased. Transitional facilities would now have to "up their game" and ensure each staff member at each place was qualified with extra training, at their own cost. O'Connor warned New Zealand should anticipate more pests at our borders as more countries around the world became infested. This was why it was so important to ensure the facilities checking incoming goods to the country were doing the best job they could. If that resulted in some "more lax" facilities unable to meet those standards, that were not necessarily a bad thing, he said. O'Connor said while some facilities were already operating with high standards, he believed there were others which took a "more casual approach" but they would be forced to get better or not operate. 

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