Signatories at the signing of the BMSB Operational Agreement, from left to right, Jen Scoular (NZ Avocado), Geoff Gwyn (MPI), Jeffrey Clark (NZ Winegrowers), Alan Pollard (Pipfruit NZ), Barry O’Neil (Kiwifruit Vine Health), Alasdair McLeod (Tomatoes NZ), and Andre de Bruin (Vegetables NZ – at rear)
Kapiti's thriving horticulture business will be better protected following the signing of an agreement to deal with the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) which is one of the biggest threats facing New Zealand's horticultural sector.
The bug threatens the livelihoods of primary sector producers, and would impact on the quality of life of all New Zealanders if ever able to establish here.
An agreement to reduce the damaging impact of BMSB incursion was signed today by a number of horticultural sector groups and Government at the Horticulture NZ Conference in Tauranga.
BMSB Council Chairperson, Alan Pollard, says this means primary industry organisations and the Ministry for Primary Industries can work together to prepare for and reduce the impacts of the pest.
"While BMSB populations have never taken hold in New Zealand, it's a sneaky pest that spreads fast and has been caught at the border on passengers and in imported goods many times," says Mr Pollard.
"If given the opportunity, BMSB has the potential to cause billions of damage to the New Zealand economy. They attack a wide range of New Zealand crops such as grapes, kiwifruit, apples, and stone fruit, corn and many other valuable crops" said Mr Pollard. "In addition, BMSB can ruin peoples' gardens and when it gets cold, BMSB tends to bunch up in large numbers in dark spaces in homes and other dwellings, making it a huge public nuisance."
The agreement, under the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity readiness and response (GIA) sets out operational requirements for readiness and response activities and cost-sharing arrangements between Government and affected industries in the management of the BMSB threat. It enables joint decision-making between the parties and sees them all working together to reduce the impacts of the pest to the affected industries.
"By working together under GIA, Government and affected industries can achieve far greater outcomes for the benefit of all New Zealanders" says Mr Pollard. "This operational agreement enables us to harness the capabilities of both Government and industry groups to fight BMSB head on. It also gives industry groups a seat at the decision-making table and ensures that an industry perspective is included when decisions are made."
Initial signatories to the operational agreement are Pipfruit NZ, Kiwifruit Vine Health Ltd, New Zealand Avocado Growers Association, Tomatoes New Zealand, Vegetables New Zealand, NZ Winegrowers, and the Ministry for Primary Industries. It is expected that other industry groups impacted by BMSB will sign the operational agreement in the future once they have joined the GIA partnership.