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.

What if I am bringing New Zealand wood packaging material back to New Zealand?

Wood packaging returning to New Zealand must meet the requirements of the New Zealand import health standard as it could have been infested whilst offshore with exotic pests.

What are the possible consequences of varroa on the bee population?

The whole bee population is at risk from the mite. Numbers of mites in a colony typically build up over a year or so, until they are sufficient to kill the colony if it is not treated. The mite will wipe out most wild (or feral) bees, as they will not be treated by a beekeeper to control varroa levels. Only well-managed bee colonies will survive the arrival of varroa.

What happens to items being treated and how long will it take?

When you bring risk goods to NZ, your goods will be inspected, treated if necessary, and you can collect them afterwards. Animal and plant products may be treated with Methyl Bromide and/or Formalin. Seeds, straw products and pine cones may be heat treated to destroy the viability of seeds and fungal spores.

How long has Tuber brumale been here?

We don't know. Oaks and hazels have, since European settlement, been brought in from Europe and the tools to detect the presence of T. brumale on tree roots have only become sophisticated in recent years. It is possible that T. brumale arrived long ago, but we know for certain that it is present in trees planted in the mid 1990s, and potentially other trees as well.

What is pandemic human influenza?

All influenza viruses are unstable and constantly changing. New human influenza viruses emerge every year.

Human pandemic viruses are very rare but occur when a new virus, to which humans have no immunity, emerges. Genetic studies have shown that some human pandemic influenza viruses have been derived from avian influenza viruses.

When will the new standard become effective, and what is the deadline for my facility to meet the new requirements?

The new Standard is expected to be implemented in February 2009.

Starting February 2009, Inspectors will audit facilities against the new standard. Inspectors will issue corrective action request(s) (CARs) for facilities that do not meet the new requirements. CARs are expected to be followed-up within the timeframe agreed upon with the Inspector.

Your local MAFBNZ Inspector will be available to help you through this process and answer any questions you may have.

Is it illegal to feed raw or meat offal to dogs?

Under the Biosecurity (Declaration of a Controlled Area) Notice – Echinococcus granulosus (Hydatids) raw offal from livestock shall not be accessible by dogs:

i. Slaughter and dressing of livestock shall take place in a dog-proof enclosure.
ii. Owners shall control their dogs at all times in such a manner as to prevent them from having access to raw offal of livestock.
iii. Offal shall be cooked by boiling for a minimum of 30 minutes before feeding to dogs.

Further information is found here: Link to PDF document (52 KB)

It is not illegal to feed raw meat to dogs but the following link contains information on sheep measles (Taenia ovis or Cysticerious ovis) which contains guidance regarding feeding sheep meat to dogs: (offsite link to

What is Scrapie?

Scrapie is a TSE that has been known for about 250 years to occur in sheep and goats.

Didymo - Where is it?

Didymo has been detected in South Island waterways. To date, it has yet to be detected in North Island waterways. For information on where didymo can be found in the pests and diseases section of this website.