An Independent Review of New Zealand's Biosecurity Surveillance Systems-Recommendations for Individual Sectors
Recommendations For Individual Sectors
1. There is potential for existing levels of passive Surveillance to be enhanced considerably by:
- increased collaboration between MFish, Regional Councils and DOC to encourage the inclusion of biosecurity components in existing environmental monitoring programmes; and
- providing identification details of target species that MFish wishes to detect to research providers who undertake regular surveys in coastal waters;
2. Surveillance programmes need to be connected to well developed incursion response strategies;
3. Many Regional Councils have education programmes and dedicated dive teams who are familiar with their own regions. They could be recruited as a valuable biosecurity Surveillance resource;
4. MFish regional fisheries officers could also be trained for this type of Surveillance work;
5. Separation of accountabilities between DOC and MFish need to be clearly agreed and defined by MOU;
6. The respective accountabilities of MAF and MFish for Surveillance in the marine environment need to be resolved. One option is for MFish to take responsibility for Ballast water and pests and MAF to be responsible for disease investigations;
7. There is potential for improved disease Surveillance to be achieved through better coordination of information management between the various providers of diagnostic services: NIWA, NCDI, Cawthron, Universities and Hort Research;
8. Databases need to be better coordinated and all subject to robust quality systems;
9. Some areas of resourcing need attention; there are vulnerabilities in some skills areas and as a result of HSNO requirements.
10. Establish clear objectives, key performance indicators and accountabilities;
11. Clarify Surveillance responsibilities in MAF/DOC MOU;
12. Coordinate inputs of DOC, MAF, LINZ and Regional Councils;
13. Build on the Champion & Clayton risk assessment framework.
14. There is need for a limited list of approved species that can be explicitly identified, as well as individuals really skilled in identification to reduce the risk of introduction of new species into NZ;
15. Internal controls on the management of exotic freshwater species needs to be rationalised and tightened;
16. Surveillance measures need to be adapted to take account of these risk factors
17. Interagency MOUs need to address all the interface issues and set out clear agreements on Surveillance activities; both what is to be done and who does what;
18. Species, disease and pathways should be targeted based on a formal risk management process to identify priorities and the most effective and efficient ways to detect the higher priorities;
19. There should be programmes to improve public awareness of the risks to indigenous species and ecosystems from exotic species and diseases and encouragement to identify and report unusual observations in the FW environment;
20. Database coordination and maintenance should be encouraged and ease of access improved.
21. There is a need for a more rigorous and formal process of determining Surveillance objectives and programmes for indigenous flora which establishes coordinated programmes within DOC and between DOC and regional councils;
22. In particular risk-based Surveillance objectives need to be established for new species;
23. The impasse over DOC not being bound by Regional Pest Management Strategies needs to be resolved;
24. The inability of Regional Councils to contribute to national biosecurity Surveillance objectives for exotic species needs to be resolved;
25. Targeted public awareness programme and public/agency cooperation critical given vast geographic area involved.
26. The MAF/DOC MOU for biosecurity needs to incorporate agreements on Surveillance objectives;
27. There is a need for improved targeting of pathways and habitats at risk;
28. There should be consideration given to development of an exotic species in captivity database;
29. The use of modelling tools such as BIOSECURE appears to have potential in assisting targeting likely areas for new species to appear;
30. A strategy should be developed between DOC, MAF and MoH to determine Surveillance requirements related to wildlife as potential reservoirs for human and domestic animal pathogens.
31. Surveillance objectives, accountabilities and KPIs need to be established for species other than mosquitoes;
32. MOUs with MAF, MFish and DOC need to be up-dated or created.
33. There is an urgent need for MAF Forest Biosecurity (MAFFB) and industry to get together to formulate a coordinated forestry Surveillance strategy;
34. A shared and comprehensive database should be developed. This will require close cooperation between MAF and industry as well as consideration of data quality, cost, ownership and access issues;
35. Greater recognition needs to be given by MAFFB to the findings from the Forest Owners Association Surveillance programme;
36. Greater emphasis with additional expenditure from $211,000 to $2.412 million  needs to be on Surveillance at the peri-border (port environs). The effective interception of exotic pests can be increased from 20% to 88% at this point which will enable much more effective eradication than if that pest is first found in the forest;
37. Industry should consider applying the Commodity Levies Act to generate a larger fund for more extensive Surveillance;
38. MAFFB should review the justification for the gypsy moth Surveillance programme in relation to other priorities;
39. Evaluate and encourage the use of the new technologies such as sniffers and satellites to improve Surveillance;
40. Resolve the roadblocks with ERMA and the HSNO Acts which restrict the importation and the availability of new pheromone lure formulations;
41. Industry and MAFFB need to discuss and implement the findings in the "Hazard site Survey" prepared by Forest Research which clearly determines where the focus of Surveillance resources should be in the determination of priorities;
42. Provide the forum for industry and MAFFB to jointly work out a comprehensive Surveillance strategy, which combines their resources and shares the information collected. There is a real need for inter agency dialogue to improve biosecurity integrity;
43. Combine the industry Surveillance programme with the MAFFB trapping systems to provide pest free assurances to overseas markets;
44. Commercial forestry interests should work with DOC to determine possible joint Surveillance of native forests which are adjacent to the exotic ones;
45. Develop and distribute education programmes that enable forestry workers to recognise and report new exotic or endemic pests and diseases.
46. MAF Plants Biosecurity (MAFPB) needs increased people and funding resources to fully develop the High Impact Exotic Pest Surveillance programmes;
47. The capacity constraints in the MAF reference laboratories (NPPRL) need urgent review, with a view to enhancing their ability to provide a timely, comprehensive and cost effective service which may include the diagnosis of by- catch;
48. The NPPRL should have specific funding arrangements for each sector requiring its identification services;
49. MAF Biosecurity Authority (MAFBA) and Industry need to work together in partnership to determine priorities and to design programmes for the Surveillance of high impact pests not yet present in New Zealand. In the past, some industry sources have challenged the decision of MAFBA to develop some of the high impact pest Surveillance programmes and in some cases there has been only limited dialogue between the two groups;
50. MAFBA needs to engage the relevant industry groups early in the planning stages, then jointly work with them on the development of the various Surveillance models;
51. Industry needs to understand the constraints that MAFBA has to operate under and be prepared to support any MAFBA initiatives to improve the overall monitoring of established pests ie new hosts/distribution and occurrence of pests under official control.
52. MAFBA could provide training and guidance for industry to undertake effective general Surveillance programmes that could be audited by MAFBA or AgriQuality on behalf of MAFBA. Persons currently employed as packing shed operators and contractors working in the orchards, nurseries and crops should be developed into a team of part time Surveillance specialists. They would provide an early warning system, which could reduce the spread of undesirable organisms;
53. Improve the access for non-MAF users to the Plant Protection Information Network (PPIN).
Farmed Livestock and Other Domestic Animals
54. MAF, together with industries, should develop a clear statement of the overall purposes which may be serviced by animal disease Surveillance;
55. MAF should agree, with industry and Government, the criteria for determining funding sources for Surveillance information with different purposes;
56. MAF should agree, with industry, an overall strategy for the obtaining of Surveillance information required by the various sectors;
57. For that information for which MAF is to be responsible, it should develop:
- A list of priorities for different organisms or syndromes;
- Technical objectives (generally, levels of sensitivity) for each of the organisms for which specific Surveillance is to be maintained (these technical objectives must be directed at allowing an effective response if the target organisms are found). An example is that the objective for Surveillance for Foot and Mouth Disease must be to have a sensitivity sufficient to detect the disease at such an early stage in the epidemic that fewer than 25 properties will be infected in the first week (ie. the incident can be handled within the resources of the contingency plan);
58. Determine Surveillance methods appropriate to the technical objectives for each organism (establish working parties, including people with knowledge of epidemiology and of the operation of Surveillance systems, to assist with this). Examples are the use of:
- Field clinical Surveillance for epidemic diseases with typical presentations (eg. FMD);
- Laboratory Surveillance for diseases of lower impact but with pronounced clinical signs;
- Abattoir Surveillance for chronic diseases with gross pathology but few clinical signs, and;
- Serological surveys for disease-causing organisms likely to remain latent in an animal population;
59. Target appropriate levels of Surveillance effort at high-risk pathways. (An example is the targeting of garbage feeding piggeries for higher intensity Surveillance for Foot and Mouth Disease, Swine Fever and African Swine Fever);
60. Develop an understanding of the infrastructure which supports Surveillance programmes and develop of methods for encouraging information flow;
61. Recognise the value of the contribution that each sector of the infrastructure makes to Surveillance and promote that value to the sector;
62. Ensure good communication and ethical relationships between MAF, NCDI and diagnostic laboratories;
63. Develop information systems that ensure that statements on the presence/ absence of disease organisms in New Zealand are soundly based.
64. Establish technical objectives for the sensitivity of the Surveillance programme;
65. Consideration should be given to linking sampling intensity to the proposed OIE standard for demonstration of area or national freedom from diseases for which national freedom is certified.
Potential Environmental Pests
66. The priority for protection of New Zealand from environmental pests must be evaluated and decided by Government on a more long-term basis. There are clearly high expectations by the general public that this aspect of biosecurity is appropriately resourced and competently managed;
67. If protection of NZ from environmental pests is considered a necessary activity for Government intervention, then work already commenced by MAF directed at defining the scope of "environmental pests" and at developing Surveillance programmes with objectives of early detection should be continued with vigour; 68. Surveillance objectives should be directed at detection of recognised high-risk environmental pests sufficiently early to enable effective response;
69. Surveillance programmes should be directed at high-risk pathways. They should, particularly, include locations where shipping (sea and air) containers are handled, stored or opened;
70. The type of publicity programme being run by "Protect New Zealand" should be ongoing with evolution from "publicity" to "public education".
Page last updated: 16 October 2008