Biosecurity Inspectors - who are we?
Biosecurity Inspector Angela Kidd
For many of the approximately 7,000 transitional and containment facility operators in New Zealand, 18 specialist biosecurity inspectors are the face of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF).
More precisely, the biosecurity inspectors are warranted under the Biosecurity Act 1993 and specialise in approving and monitoring transitional and containment facilities in New Zealand and, increasingly, accrediting overseas pre-export facilities and pathways. Some also inspect plants while they undergo post-entry quarantine.
However, as well as duties under the Biosecurity Act 1993, they also play an important role in fostering an environment of understanding, co-operation and facilitation of biosecurity in the people with whom they work. In recent years, inspectors’ roles have moved from pure audit to more of an education and facilitation service.
These inspectors specialise in one of three areas: general transitional facilities, post-entry quarantine and animals containment. There is, however, a certain amount of cross-over that has enabled all biosecurity inspectors to develop new work skills. Many are also enforcement officers under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO) and, for some, a large part of the work involves managing the biosecurity risk posed by new organisms in containment.
Since MAF Quarantine Service and Biosecurity New Zealand integrated last year, inspectors have worked much more closely with the people who develop the standards they work to. The exchange of information and expertise has been a huge benefit. Inspectors also now have more input into developing standards from the practical enforcement point of view. The recent Facilities for Micro-organisms and Cell Culture Standard and the soon-to-be-approved General Facilities Standard are examples of this way of working.
- Angela Kidd, Biosecurity Inspector, MAFBNZ
Page last updated: 14 October 2008