Plan to beef up NZ’s biose­cu­rity

Cam­paign has suc­cinct mes­sage: this af­fects all of us

Bush Telegraph - - FOCUS ON FARMING -

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.

Photo / Sup­plied

Biose­cu­rity Team mem­bers Dave Hodges and Kather­ine DeWitt.

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