FAQs related to Snakes don't belong in New Zealand

Who makes decisions about issuing an Import Health Standard?

Under the Biosecurity Act 1993, decisions on issuing import health standards are the responsibility of the Director-General of MPI, on the recommendation of a Chief Technical Officer from Biosecurity New Zealand. Biosecurity New Zealand is the part of MPI that administers the Biosecurity Act.

How do I explain the New Zealand standard to my suppliers?

Most international exporters will be aware of, if not already complying with, the ISPM 15 standard so explaination of the New Zealand standard should not be too difficult.

We recommend e-mailing the link to the full standard to all your suppliers for them to review.

What pests might be found on untreated wood packaging?

There are a number of different pest that could be found on untreated wood packaging. Some examples are:

  • Powder post beetle
  • Asian longhorn beetle
  • Citrus longhorn beetle
  • Subterranean termite

Even if wood packaging is treated accredited persons should still watch out for other pests and diseases that might be in their consignment. Re-infestation of treated wood packaging is also possible.

What items are considered wood packaging?

Wood packaging material includes items such as dunnage, crates, fillets, spacers, pallets, drums, and reels. Peeler cores are exempt from the international standard ISPM 15, but are included in the New Zealand standard when used for packaging.

What types of wood packaging items are exempt from the standard?

Packaging that is made from manufactured wood, such as plywood, oriented strand board, fibre-board, paper and cardboard packaging or those made from non-wood articles and thin wood (considered to be 6mm thickness or less) are exempt.

Wood packaging material such as sawdust, wood wool, and shavings, are regulated according to the Import Health Standard for Sawdust, Wood Chips, Wood Shavings, and Wood Wool from All Countries.

Wine barrels and animal crates used for the transportation of live animals are regulated by the Import Health Standard for Woodware from All Countries

Why has New Zealand amended the import requirements for the entry of wood packaging?

In March 2002, the FAO Interim Commission on Phytosanitary Measures adopted new guidelines for wood packaging for international trade. These were called the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No 15: Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International Trade (ISPM 15).

ISPM 15 describes phytosanitary measures to reduce the risk of introduction and/or spread of quarantine pests associated with wood packaging material (including dunnage), made of coniferous and non-coniferous raw wood, for international trade.

New Zealand, as a signatory to the International Plant Protection Convention, has revised its own wood packaging import standard to more closely align it with this international standard.

Why are regulations needed to control wood packaging moving internationally?

Internationally wood packaging is recognized as an important pathway in the transmission of pests. A significant proportion of wood packaging is manufactured from relatively low quality raw wood which is likely to contain pests.

Many invasive pests have been intercepted on wood dunnage, pallets, crating or other wood packaging imported into New Zealand.

What other treatments are acceptable other than Methyl bromide?
Isn’t methyl bromide usage being phased out?

Methyl bromide is an ozone depleting substance and its use is not encouraged when alternatives are available. Methyl bromide use as a quarantine treatment is exempt from the consumption controls under the Montreal Protocol. It is not known how long this exemption will remain in place.

I import wine and/or spirits. Are the wooden barrels/finished display boxes regulated?

Yes. These items are not regulated under the wood packaging standard, but regulated under the Import Health Standard for Woodware

I export and import commodities. Often my New Zealand wood packaging goes offshore. Do I need to meet these import requirements?

The International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15: Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging in International Trade (offsite link to www.ippc.int) encourages countries to adopt similar import measures to reduce the incidence of unwanted exotic pests moving to new areas. Several countries have decided to adopt this International Standard as import measures and many other countries have given notice that they, too, intend to adopt the recommendations of ISPM 15

As an exporter, you will need to meet the importing country's requirements. Requirements for the export of certified wood packaging are provided in the export phytosanitary requirements for other countries.

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.

Will this change in the wood packaging standard change the role of accredited persons?

Yes it does change their role. Accredited persons should still be inspecting all wood packaging for pest such as insects and fungi but they must also record the ISPM 15 compliance status of the wood packaging on their container log sheets.

We recommend that non-compliant wood packaging be treated or destroyed.

What does ISPM 15 stand for?

International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM’s) are adopted by contracting parties to the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) (offsite link to www.ippc.int) , and by FAO Members that are not contracting parties, through the Interim Commission on Phytosanitary Measures. ISPM’s are the standards, guidelines and recommendations recognized as the basis for phytosanitary measures applied by Members of the World Trade Organization under the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. ISPM 15 is the international guideline for regulating wood packaging material in international trade.

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

You can contact the National Programme Manager

If the wood packaging attached to my importation is non-compliant, as the importer, am I responsible?

Yes. If you have untreated wood packaging in your consignment after 1 July 2006 you will have to treat, reship or destroy it. The costs of this will be borne by the importer.

What do I need to do to make sure my overseas wood packaging is compliant for entry into New Zealand?

To be compliant wood packaging must be:

  • Treated (with rates specified in appendix 1 and 3 of the import health standard) using the following methods:
    • Heat treatment
    • Fumigated with methyl bromide
    • Fumigated with phosphine
    • Chemical preservation using:
      • Boron compounds
      • Copper + didecyldimethyl ammonium chloride
      • Copper azole
      • Copper chrome arsenic
      • Propiconaole and Tebuconazole
  • Wood packaging treated to ISPM 15 standard should be marked with the following:

XX = Two letter code for country in which wood packaging was produced

000 = Official certification number for facility that produced the wood packaging

YY = Treatment that the wood packaging has been given

This mark can only be given to wood packaging by an approved provider from the country of origin

  • Wood packaging that is not marked with the above stamp must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with the treatment detailed in the treatment section or a NPPO endorsed treatment certificate.
  • Free from pests
  • Free of extraneous material (e.g. leaves, soil)
  • Free of all bark
How will you know if my wood packaging is compliant?

Between 1 May and 30 June 2006 MPI Quarantine Service will be placing tags on any non-compliant wood packaging. The tags will help you identify which of your suppliers are not meeting the standard and allow you time to discuss with them before 1 July 2006.

After 1 July 2006 all wood packaging treated to ISPM 15 standard should be marked with the symbol below or accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with the treatment detailed in the Treatment Section or a NPPO-endorsed treatment certificate.


XX = Two letter code for country in which wood packaging was produced

000 = Official certification number for facility that produced the wood packaging

YY = Treatment that the wood packaging has been given

If your wood packaging does not have either of these you must note it on your container log sheet and advise your supplier of the non-compliance.

We recommend that you destroy or treat any non-compliant wood packaging received.

What will happen to my shipment if the wood packaging materials are not entirely free of bark, soil and extraneous matter?

Wood packaging material contaminated with bark shall have the bark removed (if possible) or treated, reshipped or destroyed.

Who will pay for the treatment, reshipping or destruction of non-compliant wood packaging?

The importer must pay for these.

Who decides what happens to the non-compliant wood packaging?

The importer will be given a choice of treatment, reshipment or destruction of any non-compliant wood packaging. The final decision will rest with MPI.

When will the ISPM15 standard come into effect?

It is anticipated that the requirements will be in place on 1 May 2006 but there will be a grace period for enforcement will be staged between May and June

Between 1 May and 30 June 2006:

  • Consignments will be risk profiled and a subset of these will be selected for inspection.
  • Any wood packaging found to have pests will be treated, reshipped or destroyed.
  • Wood packaging that is non-compliant will be tagged with an advisory notice to the importer.

From 1 July 2006:

  • Wood packaging must comply with the import requirements.
  • Consignments will be risk profiled and a subset of these will be selected for inspection.
  • Any non-compliant wood will be treated, reshipped or destroyed.
  • A notice will be sent to the importer about any non-compliant wood packaging.

Information from the non-compliances will be used to feedback into the risk profiling system. This means that importers who develop a history of non-compliance will be selected for inspection more often.

What will happen to my consignment when it enters New Zealand (after 1 July 2006), if the consignment contains wood packaging?
  • Consignments will be risk profiled and a subset of these will be selected for inspection.
  • Consignment documentation will be checked on arrival if your consignment is selected by the risk profile.
  • If the wood packaging is not accompanied by the proper certification or marked appropriately it will be considered untreated.
  • Consignments that contain untreated wood packaging material will be treated, reshipped or destroyed.
  • Consignments that contain treated wood packaging material may be inspected to verify that the treatment was effective.
  • Consignments that contain treated wood packaging material declared as compliant may be inspected to verify that the wood is marked appropriately.
If I am importing wood packaging from a country that doesn't have a system to meet to New Zealand’s requirements, am I exempt?

No. Wood packaging must be compliant with New Zealand's import requirements.

To provide sufficient time for countries to develop certification programs for wood packaging materials, New Zealand is implementing a staggered enforcement plan.

After 1 July 2006 if any untreated packaging is found it will be treated, re-shipped or destroyed. Costs for these actions will be borne by the importer.

What is European Foulbrood?

European Foulbrood is a bacterial disease of bees caused by Melissococcus pluton. It is not present in New Zealand, but is found in many other beekeeping countries. European Foulbrood does not form spores, but can be spread on bee products and beekeeping equipment. European Foulbrood is often considered internationally as a ‘stress’ disease - a disease that is usually not fatal to a colony unless the colony is already under stress for other reasons. Healthy colonies usually survive European Foulbrood. Overseas, outbreaks are controlled chemically by feeding antibiotics to infected colonies.

What is American Foulbrood?

American Foulbrood is a bacterial disease of bees caused by a strain of the spore-forming bacteria Paenibacillus larvae. This organism has been present in New Zealand since 1877 and is under a national control programme. American Foulbrood affects developing bees and infected colonies often die. It is spread mainly by the movement of beekeeping equipment and by bees moving between colonies, but also by bee products. Beekeepers can reduce the impact of the disease to below economically significant levels by following good management practices.

What happens if new threats to bee products are identified or new information becomes available?

Import health standards are constantly reviewed in the light of new information such as changing disease status in exporting countries, changes in international standards and latest research findings. For example, Biosecurity New Zealand became aware of the possibility of Nosema ceranae, a newly identified bee parasite that is linked to bee diseases in Europe, being introduced into New Zealand. Biosecurity New Zealand investigated this possibility and a technical report was completed. The conclusion of this technical report was that there was sufficient uncertainty regarding this organism to include temporary measures in the import health standard for bee products from Australia.

What are the requirements for importing wooden fence posts for my farm?

All poles, posts or rounds imported into New Zealand will be inspected on arrival in New Zealand for pests, evidence of pest infestation, or for unwanted organic contamination such as soil or bark.

Poles, posts or rounds found to be contaminated with pests or soil or bark will need to be treated (if you want the items to enter New Zealand), re-shipped (sent back) or destroyed (incinerated). The treatment will depend on the contaminant found (e.g. fumigation for insects or bark, heat treatment for fungi).

Poles, posts or rounds from Pines trees (genus Pinus) that are being imported from areas not considered by Biosecurity New Zealand to be free of Fusarium circinatum (Pine pitch canker), must be heat treated to a core temperature of 70oC for 4 hours.

All treatment or destruction costs will need to be met by the importer.

If you want to be sure of avoiding difficulties on arriving in NZ, make sure that all poles, posts or rounds you bring into New Zealand are either free of pests, bark and soil (dirt), or have been certified treated by one of the methods described in the import health standard.

Should all potting mix product be considered contaminated with exotic weeds?

No. The source of the contamination has been traced to two contaminated consignments of coco peat (coir or coconut husk fibre), imported from Sri Lanka in October 2007. Only one company received this contaminated material and we are working with them to trace this product through their customer database.

What is the problem associated with Coco peat/Coir fibre?

MAFBNZ was made aware on 15 February 2008 that suspect, new-to-New Zealand weeds were present within potting mix in a Waikato nursery. From this initial find 15 new-to-New Zealand weed varieties have been isolated and contained - work is going on in formally identifying the weed species and analysing any potential risk these may pose to New Zealand's environment or primary industry.