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Biosecurity Threat - Animal & Plant

We all have a responsibility to look out for unusual pests or diseases. There are countless pests and diseases which have the potential to seriously impact on our native biodiversity, our fisheries, farms and forests that support a large percentage of our jobs, service industries and export income. This biosecurity risk cannot be under-estimated.

To find out more about the hazards where you live, work and play, visit out hazard map portal

What warning will there be?

If you are in an industry that could potentially be affected by a biosecurity threat, make use of the Biosecurity NZ web page for information and alerts.  The Government issues warnings of any biosecurity threat or infiltration.

How do I get prepared?

Learn about the different threats and diseases and what to look for.

When there is a Biosecurity concern, please take note of Government warnings and observe all restrictions of access/movement and health/sanitary requirements so that you do not spread the disease or make it worse.  You could put your own livelihood at risk by being careless.

What to do when it happens and after?

If you find an animal (insect, spider etc) or a plant or plant disease (Kauri dieback etc) that you think is a biosecurity risk, call the Exotic Pest and Disease toll free, 24 hour emergency hotline: 0800 80 99 66 or go to the Biosecurity NZ website.

Farmers should know the risks to their stock from animal diseases, and be taking all precautions.  Mycoplasma Bovis (2018) will require dairy farmers to have sanitary wash bays at their gates and visitors to farms should use these to limit the spread of the disease. Find out about going on to farms - clean on, clean off video from Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

Hawke’s Bay is known for as being a healthy environment for farming sheep, cattle and dairy as well its production of fresh fruit, vegetables, wine, and forestry.

We are economically dependant on primary production, so any serious outbreak of pests or diseases that affect these industries if not controlled or avoided, will severely affect the regional economy. To think about how widely an outbreak could impact, remember that farmers and their families use hairdressers and buy clothes and furniture, support schools and clubs, and take holidays.

The consequences may be loss of crops, fisheries and/or livestock leading to a loss of production, loss of overseas markets, general economic downturn, and greater reliance on welfare agencies. The effects of an outbreak may occur over several months, but the region may take several years to recover.

We have a good biosecurity programme to respond to such threats in New Zealand.  This has helped keep the country free of some of the worst pests and diseases, such as foot and mouth, rabies, scrapie and snakes.

As the flow of goods and people across our borders increases every year, and the widening scope of biosecurity, there is an ongoing risk posed by pests and diseases to the economy, environment and human health.


As early as 1884, the Government was concerned at the danger of introducing pests and diseases to the colony, and so passed one of the first pieces of legislation to protect biosecurity - the Codling Moth Act of 1884. 

Many other protections became necessary as New Zealand’s economy grew and travel increased, particularly in the 1940s and 1950s as speedy air travel grew between one country and another. . It was now possible for adult pests (insects etc) to travel as stowaways in aircraft from overseas. Shorter times for shipping also reduced the protection in time and distance that New Zealand had formerly enjoyed

In addition many weeds and pests were already established, and started to cause problems requiring constant vigilance and ongoing control programmes.

The devastation caused by the last outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in cattle in the United Kingdom in 2001 highlighted the potential impact of a disease outbreak, which would have severe economic and social effects in New Zealand and Hawke’s Bay.

Although Foot and Mouth Disease represents a worst-case scenario, there are countless other pests and diseases which have the potential to seriously impact on our native biodiversity, and the farms and forests that provide a large percentage of our export income.

Horticulture Threat

Diseases and pests can severely impact the wine industry, other fruits, vegetable and grain production.  Growers are constantly managing their crops to combat serious potential losses.

Abandoned or neglected orchards pose a real threat to the apple industry.

Pests and diseases that can cause severe damage and production loss include -  Codlin moth (Cydiapomonella), Leafroller (3 species), Black spot (Venturia inaequalis), Powdery mildew, Fireblight and European canker (Nectria galligena). In some case they can also prevent the export of fruit or significantly lower returns.

Microscopic Invaders - Didymo

History shows that whole industries, like forestry, horticulture and viticulture, can be seriously affected by microscopic plant diseases invisible to the naked eye. Even an innocuous looking aquarium plant, like hydrilla, once it finds its way into the water system, can cause major problems by clogging lakes or blocking up hydro-power stations.

For instance, a bug called Didymo, has been a concern in rivers in the South Island. It produces slime - common name is 'river snot' - and stifles natural water life. It can be spread by a single drop of water so agencies are working to prevent its spread to the North Island

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Lead Agency

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is the agency responsible for protecting New Zealand's unique biodiversity by managing risks to plant and animal health and animal welfare. MAF's powers for managing these outbreaks are provided in the Biosecurity Act 1993. MAF has plans, policies, and procedures in place to manage and control the serious pests and diseases that have the potential to seriously affect the horticultural, forestry, and agricultural industries that are important to Hawke’s Bay.


Hawke's Bay has not had many biosecurity threats, below are the details of a significant one.

December 1998, Mosquito Outbreak, Napier, Haumoana, Mahia and Porangahau.

The southern salt marsh mosquito (Ochlerotatus camptorhynchus) was discovered in Napier. The mosquito is an aggressive daytime biter with the potential to be a significant nuisance for people, livestock and birds. It also carries Ross River Virus in southwest Western Australia. If the southern salt marsh mosquito population had been left unchecked, future risks included the virus infecting local people and a disease epidemic. An eradication programme was carried out in Napier, Haumoana, Mahia, and Porangahau and there have been no further finds of the Southern Saltmarsh Mosquito in these areas since.

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