Hadda beetle established in Auckland

25 March 2010

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) announced today that eradication of the Hadda beetle would not be feasible. Investigations have found the beetle is widespread across central Auckland and the maturity of the beetles indicates that it may have been in New Zealand since 2006.

MAFBNZ Response Manager, David Yard, says having considered a number of management options, MAFBNZ has reached the conclusion that eradication of Hadda beetle is not possible, given its widespread distribution and the unknown effectiveness of treatment.

"The potential cost to the taxpayer of eradicating the Hadda beetle was estimated to be $200 million over four years, which far out ways the estimated impacts of this pest.

"Hadda beetle has not been detected in tomato and potato crops in New Zealand. We will work with the horticulture industry to minimise the impact that this new pest may have.

"Eradication of a pest or disease is not always feasible – eradication has to be technically and scientifically possible and it has to be affordable and desirable. Despite having a world-leading biosecurity system, zero risk is not achievable. Even if we completely closed the border to all trade and travel, we would still encounter incursions because there will always be some pests and diseases that will blow, fly, swim or be smuggled into New Zealand.

"We have a world class surveillance, response and management system in place to respond to incursions that do occur. In the future we hope to work more closely with industry on readiness and response activities under the Government Industry Agreement process currently underway," Mr Yard says.

An advisory group with representatives from Horticulture New Zealand and Potatoes New Zealand growers has been established and is working with MAFBNZ to investigate how to manage this new pest.

To date all positive detections of Hadda beetle have been sprayed and, where necessary, infected plants have been removed to prevent spread while the feasibility of eradication was examined.

Hadda beetle was first discovered in Dove-Myer Robinson Park in Auckland in January 2010. MAFBNZ conducted a delimiting survey to find out how widespread the beetle is, which resulted in 50 positive finds in 22 locations in Auckland. Some locations are at least 8.25 kilometres from the original detection site and more finds are expected throughout Auckland.

The Hadda beetle is an unwanted organism and is a pest on crops such as potatoes, tomatoes and aubergines.

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