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.

Who do I contact for further information about importing wood packaging?

You can contact the National Programme Manager

Are there any avian influenza viruses in New Zealand?

Over 5000 samples have been taken from wild birds (migrating and resident species) in New Zealand since 1976. A small number of low pathogenic notifiable avian influenza viruses (H5 or H7 subtypes) have been found in healthy mallard ducks.

Why are live sheep and cattle shipments still allowed?

New Zealand exports a wide range of species including horses, deer, cats, dogs, bees, goats, day-old chicks, ferrets, wallabies, embryos and semen. Livestock are especially sought after because of their high genetic value and because New Zealand is free of most major exotic diseases. Animals are shipped live because they are used for breeding, or for slaughter in the country of arrival. Groups that are too large for transport by air may be taken by sea.

New Zealand is currently not shipping any cattle for slaughter, and the export of live sheep for slaughter has dwindled since the 1990s, with the last shipment being in 2003. It does, however, export cattle and sheep for breeding.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, all animals for export (unless specifically exempted) must be issued with an Animal Welfare Export Certificate (AWEC), which takes account of animal welfare requirements and covers compliance with standards.

An experienced New Zealand stockman must accompany shipments of cattle. Some shipping companies also send veterinarians. All shipments are inspected by a MAF veterinarian before they depart.

A shipping report is completed at the end of each voyage which records any deaths, the weather, feed and water supplies, and any issues which affected the welfare of the animals.

Sea-bound shipments have additional requirements in the Maritime Rules, which are monitored by the Maritime Safety Authority. These cover ventilation, feed and water, space requirements, pen height requirements etc.

As a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), New Zealand has certain obligations under WTO agreements. New Zealand cannot prohibit the export of animals to other WTO member countries on the basis of management procedures in the country of importation.

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee is currently developing a code of welfare for the shipping of livestock.

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 risk does this product pose to our horticulture, agriculture and nursery sectors?

From this initial find, 15 exotic new-to-New Zealand weed varieties have been isolated and contained. Work is still ongoing in formally identifying the weed species and analysing any potential risk they may pose to New Zealand's environment or primary industries. Preliminary thoughts are that most of the weeds are tropical species and it is questionable how well they will do in New Zealand conditions. This said, however, prudent measures are underway to attempt to contain and destroy as much contaminated product as possible.

How do I register my feedback for the TF Gen standard requirements?
Send any feedback to standards@maf.govt.nz. MAFBNZ welcomes any comments you may have.
Where can I get more information?

Information will be continually updated on this website.

What does the protocol for GM lucerne/alfalfa require?

The protocol will require importers to have consignments of viable lucerne/alfalfa seed tested for the presence of GM seed at one of the three MAF approved testing laboratories located in Australia, France or the US.

What is New Zealands status regarding TSE's

New Zealand's livestock populations are free from TSEs - scrapie in sheep and goats, BSE in cows and CWD in deer.