Biosecurity in New Zealand

'Biosecurity' is the protection of New Zealand's economy, environment and people's health and social and cultural wellbeing from pests and diseases. It includes trying to prevent new pests and diseases arriving, and eradicating or controlling those already present.

Biosecurity is vitally important to New Zealand as we are more reliant on agriculture and our natural environment than any other developed country. Our indigenous flora and fauna are precious to New Zealanders and tourists alike. We have unique native species that are a core part of our natural heritage and culture, and we pride ourselves on enjoying high standards for our agricultural products, lifestyle and wellbeing.

The Government is committed to maintaining a clear and effective role as overall steward of the biosecurity system. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is tasked by the Government with a 'whole of system' leadership role, encompassing economic, social, cultural, health and environmental outcomes.

The strategic direction and strategies for biosecurity come from Tiakina Aotearoa – The Biosecurity Strategy for New Zealand. Biosecurity outcomes are jointly agreed by MPI, the Ministry of Health, Department of Conservation and Te Puni Kōkiri, which are the leading government agencies responsible for biosecurity (our partner agencies).

Our system is made up of many groups and organisations working together:

  • MPI – the lead agency;
  • other government sector agencies;
  • primary production organisations;
  • industry sectors such as importers, exporters, transport and travel, marine and tourism operators;
  • Regional Councils and local government
  • the public health sectors
  • research organisations;
  • non-governmental organisations, including environmental groups;
  • iwi groups and representatives; and
  • the public.

Given the potential impacts of a serious biosecurity incursion, it's easy to see why biosecurity is so critical for New Zealand and why building a biosecurity system is a collaborative project. It takes a whole country.

Page last updated: 30 April 2012