Frequently Asked Questions

Could didymo spread to lakes throughout New Zealand?

Yes. Although didymo prefers a river environment with clear water flowing over stable substrate at depths sufficient for light penetration to drive photosynthesis, blooms have been found in South Island Lakes. Lake Wakatipu, for example, contains visible didymo on some parts of the lake shore.

Why is it important to keep New Zealand BSE free?

New Zealand’s livestock industry is heavily export oriented.  We export about 95% of our dairy produce, 90% of lamb, 80% of mutton and 80% of beef. Other countries will not buy our produce if we have an outbreak of BSE. If BSE surfaces here, it will wreak havoc not only on the country’s economy but the livelihood of thousands of farmers will be jeopardised. It will also take many, many years to regain the confidence of the importing countries.

There are lessons to be learnt from BSE occurrences in other countries. It cost Canada some $11 million per day in lost export earnings after the first case was detected there in 2003. In Japan, 64 companies filed for bankruptcy following BSE detection there. We simply cannot afford to have a case of BSE here in New Zealand. It is everybody’s responsibility to keep New Zealand free from this disease.

Does New Zealand import livestock or livestock products?

Yes. But under strict import protocols designed to prevent the entry of new or harmful organisms. More commonly New Zealand imports germ plasm such as semen or embryos where 'washing' techniques and other import requirements allow them to be imported safely.

Are gin traps banned in New Zealand?

After consultation the Government has decided to restrict the sale and use of leg-hold traps in New Zealand. New regulations came into effect on 1 January 2008.

What effect will deformed bee wing virus have on beekeepers/beekeeping industry?

DWV is more likely to affect beehives weakened by the varroa bee mite. Beekeepers with healthy hives and good varroa management practices are much less likely to be affected by DWV.

What should I do if I have used, or still have unused contaminated potting mix?

Briefly, our advice is to hold and separate out any plants that have been potted during the 17 October and 12 December 2007 time frame. Check and manually weed potted plants - destroy weeds by incineration, deep bury or place in a plastic bag, seal and send to the landfill as part of your household rubbish collection. We recommend the weeded plants are then treated with a pre-emergence herbicide. If you have unused product still on your property call MAF's 0800 number - 0800 80 99 66 for instructions on disposal.

Can Bulk Loaded Used Vehicles be cleared using Inbound Messaging?

No - These use a different coversheet and application process.

The code of welfare for dogs doesn’t include information on dog control, registration and impounding. Where can I find this info

Dog control and registration (and microchipping) are covered by the Dog Control Act 1996. Local authorities can provide further information on these requirements or this Act can be accessed at (offsite link to

Please note this information is provided by way of general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice. Parties are advised to seek independent legal advice in relation to particular fact situations.

Who would pay for the testing of seeds for the presence of GM and how much does it cost?

The importer is required to meet the costs of testing. The testing costs between $340 and $560, depending on which of the three MAF approved laboratories conduct the testing (USA, France or Australia).

How is the response to didymo being coordinated by Government and local agencies?

The Ministry for Primary Industries is the lead agency and coordinates resources for stakeholder agencies on the ground. This has included communications, enforcement of controlled areas, and water sampling. In 2007 the Didymo Long Term Management Programme began, with the transition from the response phase to the management phase. This programme involves a number of our key partners working together regionally and nationally. The objectives of the Long Term Management Programme are:

  • to slow the spread of didymo and other freshwater pests throughout New Zealand;
  • protect valued sites and at risk species;
  • mitigate impacts of didymo on affected sectors; and
  • maintain the North Island free of didymo for as long as possible

As the programme has progressed the focus has expanded to include stopping the spread of other freshwater pests, and is now known as the Freshwater Pest Partnership Programme.

Long-term management programme Link to PDF document (135 KB)