Plan to beef up NZ’s biosecurity
Campaign has succinct message: this affects all of us
Aplan is being formed to make our country’s biosecurity system stronger than ever. At its heart is a campaign to show that every Kiwi has a role to play.
Right now it’s hard to ignore biosecurity. Where once it may have seemed largely irrelevant, the arrival of Mycoplasma bovis has highlighted the need for farmers to protect themselves and actively pursue good biosecurity.
Nick Maling, interim chairman of the Biosecurity 2025 Steering Group, says it can be easy to think biosecurity is just something the government does.
“The importance and the enormity of the biosecurity task means it’s vital for every New Zealander to pitch in. After all, everyone benefits from a strong, resilient biosecurity system, especially those who make their living on the land.”
The Government and a range of partners across primary industries are working on a plan to make our biosecurity system stronger and more future-focused. It’s the realisation of what was set out in the Biosecurity 2025 Direction Statement released at the end of 2016, which guides the biosecurity system through to 2025 and beyond.
With so much riding on dairying, both in terms of the national economy and the health and wealth of individual businesses and communities, it’s vital dairy interests are represented.
Biosecurity 2025 has had broad buy-in to date, with around 80 biosecurity system leaders and 60 groups, including DairyNZ, taking part in working groups to drive the design. A steering group, which includes Kimberly Crewther from Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ), is helping keep the work on track. The plan outlining how this will happen was launched at the Biosecurity New Zealand Forum last month.
The programme will build strength in the system by harnessing science and technology; tapping into data and intelligence; building effective leadership in biosecurity; developing our future workforce and infrastructure; and, what will be most visible in the coming months, ‘Building a team of 4.7 million’ — engaging all New Zealanders in biosecurity.
Research found that although 96 per cent of Kiwis think biosecurity is important, only 2 per cent believe a breach would have a personal consequence to them.
“This suggests New Zealanders think biosecurity is someone else’s problem,” says Maling.
An independent brand, Ko Tatou This Is Us, has been launched to highlight that biosecurity affects every Kiwi, that it protects everything we hold dear — our outdoor environment, our farm businesses, even the food we enjoy.
A public campaign is under way, and includes a new website, thisisus.nz.
Biosecurity Team members Dave Hodges and Katherine DeWitt.