Veg­eta­bles NZ Inc.

Join­ing the Na­tional Biose­cu­rity Ca­pa­bil­ity Net­work (NBCN)

NZ Grower - - Contents - JOHN SEY­MOUR Gen­eral Man­ager Veg­eta­bles New Zealand Inc.

GIA next steps

They key to GIA is the abil­ity to max­imise the col­lec­tive re­source of both the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries (MPI) staffing re­sources, ser­vice providers and our grow­ers who are na­tion­ally placed to as­sist with readi­ness and / or re­sponses.

The fo­cus for the Veg­eta­bles NZ board is to en­sure that MPI in par­tic­u­lar has a process that en­sures con­tin­ual im­prove­ment, par­tic­u­larly at the “re­sponse” level (i.e. crop sur­veil­lance fol­low­ing de­tec­tion of an un­wanted pest) but also at the “readi­ness” level.

The key is to min­imise risk at each level which will sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce costs and po­ten­tial dam­age to our grow­ers’ crops. One of the ini­tia­tives to achieve this is the NBCN.


It’s a joint ini­tia­tive be­tween MPI and AsureQual­ity (AQ) to en­sure there is a pool of ca­pa­bil­i­ties and re­sources that can be drawn on in a biose­cu­rity in­cur­sion. It in­cludes ser­vice providers (i.e. cer­ti­fied sprayers), re­gional coun­cils etc and will ul­ti­mately in­clude grow­ers.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the prod­uct groups join up to the NBCN through an agree­ment with MPI. To join up or­gan­i­sa­tions iden­tify ca­pa­bil­ity (peo­ple) and re­sources (equip­ment, build­ings, goods and ser­vices) that could be utilised in a re­sponse. This means the NBCN can quickly iden­tify and de­ploy the peo­ple and equip­ment they might need to pro­vide the best re­sponse.

Many dif­fer­ent types of or­gan­i­sa­tions from all over New Zealand have al­ready joined the NBCN (over 200 or­gan­i­sa­tions have signed, rep­re­sent­ing around 60,000 peo­ple). The net­work has been de­ployed a num­ber of times, in­clud­ing the Queens­land fruit fly re­sponse in Grey Lynn.

Per­son­nel can be taken from or­gan­i­sa­tions and trained in the work­stream roles of lo­gis­tics, sur­veil­lance, or­gan­ism man­age­ment, tech­ni­cal ex­perts, move­ment con­trol and op­er­a­tions man­age­ment. How­ever, or­gan­i­sa­tions and peo­ple do not need to have spe­cial­ist biose­cu­rity ex­pe­ri­ence or ser­vices to be a part of the net­work. The tasks net­work mem­bers are drawn on to per­form are var­ied – for ex­am­ple waste man­age­ment, trans­port lo­gis­tics and ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The net­work also re­quires spe­cial­ist skills which could in­volve team man­age­ment, as­sess­ing crops, set­ting traps and agri-com­pound ap­pli­ca­tions. This train­ing takes place in peace time so the net­work is ready to re­spond in the event of a biose­cu­rity in­cur­sion.

WHY SHOULD HORTNZ OR OTHER OR­GAN­I­SA­TIONS JOIN THE NBCN? Other GIA/Govern­ment part­ners signed or in process of sign­ing from the hor­ti­cul­ture sec­tor are NZ Wine­grow­ers and Ki­wifruit Vine Health (KVH). As sig­na­to­ries for GIA we should also look to join so that in­dus­try is ac­tively con­tribut­ing to biose­cu­rity re­sponses in the field, as well as at the de­ci­sion-mak­ing level.


NBCN mem­ber­ship has been split into two phases – the first phase fo­cussed on core HortNZ staff and the sec­ond phase to broaden out to prod­uct groups such as Veg­eta­bles NZ Inc (VNZI).

Phase 1 HortNZ core staff

HortNZ have re­cently signed an agree­ment with MPI, mak­ing them a for­mal mem­ber of the NBCN. HortNZ’s con­tri­bu­tion is pri­mar­ily in terms of peo­ple ca­pa­bil­ity rather than equip­ment and fa­cil­i­ties. HortNZ staff have many of the sought-af­ter skills such as ad­min­is­tra­tion, as well as spe­cial­ist ex­per­tise that could be es­sen­tial for hard-to-fill tech­ni­cal re­sponse roles.

In or­der to join the net­work, HortNZ com­piled a list of the rel­e­vant ca­pa­bil­i­ties, ex­pe­ri­ence, cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and li­cences (e.g. Growsafe ap­proved han­dler) of core staff so that the right peo­ple can be iden­ti­fied quickly to fill spe­cific skills short­ages. This doesn’t mean all HortNZ staff will be

taken away from their day job dur­ing a biose­cu­rity re­sponse, or­gan­i­sa­tions can choose how many peo­ple to de­ploy at a time if they are called upon to as­sist. When re­quired, a con­tract is agreed be­tween the par­ties out­lin­ing this.

Phase 2 HortNZ af­fil­i­ated prod­uct groups

While HortNZ has been com­plet­ing their part­ner­ship in the NBCN the biose­cu­rity team have been con­sid­er­ing phase two - in­te­gra­tion of the prod­uct groups and their re­spec­tive re­sources.

Veg­eta­bles NZ al­ready in dis­cus­sion with HortNZ about de­vel­op­ing a prod­uct group pro­posal and will be seek­ing in­ter­ested grow­ers to com­plete the same process and join the NBCN. As with the HortNZ ar­range­ment, prod­uct group grow­ers would have agreed pre­de­ter­mined pa­ram­e­ters to work within when de­ployed and how they would be com­pen­sated.

Over the com­ing months VNZI will be for­mal­is­ing a pro­posal that will demon­strate how the NBCN will work for our grow­ers, and if ac­cept­able will ul­ti­mately in­clude a re­sourc­ing sched­ule of those grow­ers who wish to par­tic­i­pate. The sched­ule would show what ca­pa­bil­i­ties and ex­per­tise, qual­i­fi­ca­tions or cer­ti­fi­ca­tions each per­son would have, pos­si­ble avail­abil­ity and con­tact details. The pro­posal may also in­clude other in­for­ma­tion about ex­pe­ri­ence that might be use­ful be­fore or dur­ing a re­sponse (e.g. ma­chin­ery or IT ex­per­tise, pre­vi­ous roles held, cul­tural or lan­guage ca­pa­bil­ity etc). It’s im­por­tant to note that it is en­tirely op­tional for any­one to par­tic­i­pate or not at any stage (i.e. if a par­tic­i­pant is too busy or away at the time then an al­ter­na­tive par­tic­i­pant will be con­tacted). There will be grow­ers who not wish to par­tic­i­pate at all as there is no com­punc­tion to do so – the de­ci­sion to be in­volved may also be in­flu­enced by how or at what level grow­ers may be re­mu­ner­ated for their ser­vices when re­quested to con­trib­ute to a biose­cu­rity ac­tiv­ity.

The prod­uct group sched­ule would be in­te­grated into a mas­ter sched­ule which will in the long term pro­vide a col­lec­tive range of ca­pa­bil­i­ties at all lev­els which can be de­ployed at any time at any lo­ca­tion na­tion­wide.

A win­ning com­bi­na­tion for all.

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