New treatment and cleaning rules for imported vehicles and machinery – including those that make their way to the rural sector – will make it harder for brown marmorated stink bugs to make landfall in New Zealand, says the Ministry for Primary Industries.
The new rules came into force this month – from September 1 – which is also the beginning of the stink bug season.
“Imported vehicles and machinery pose a high biosecurity risk, as stink bugs hibernate in nooks and crannies during the Northern Hemisphere winter,” says MPI facilities and pathways manager Paul Hallett.
Paul says MPI’s new Import Health Standard for vehicles, machinery and equipment – in place until April 30, 2019 – has a big focus on Japan following biosecurity issues earlier this year with contaminated vehicle carriers.
There are also new restrictions on imports from many European countries, recognising the spread of stink bug through this part of the world.
“One of the big things is making it compulsory for treatment to take place offshore for non-containerised vehicles and machinery sourced from affected countries.
“We simply don’t want to run the risk of having contaminated cargo enter NZ waters,” says Paul.
“The new standard also covers new vehicles from Japan. In the past, we’ve focused on used vehicles from this country. New vehicles can be easily contaminated if they are not securely stored.”
The approved treatment options are fumigation with methyl bromide or sulfuryl fluoride and heat treatment, says Paul.
“We expect most of the imports from Japan will undergo heat treatment, as that’s going to be available locally and Japan has restrictions on some fumigants.
“We want to do everything we can to stop brown marmorated stink bug from invading NZ, given the damage it could cause to our horticulture industry,” says Paul.
Under the new standard 14 more countries have been added to the list requiring mandatory treatment of vehicles and machinery during the stink bug season. This requirement previously only applied to vehicles from the United States and Italy.
Used imports from Japan will need to be both treated and cleaned offshore as part of an approved system during the season.
New and used imports
All other new and used imports – during the stink bug season – from other countries covered by the standard will need to be treated or go through an approved system.
Vehicle manufacturers will have the option of applying to MPI for biosecurity approval of their supply chain processes, avoiding the need to treat each new unit. This involves having strict controls in place to reduce the risk of contamination.
Used machinery from any country must have a certificate proving it has undergone thorough cleaning and treatment before arrival in NZ. And there must be evidence the machinery was disassembled for cleaning. It must also arrive with a sticker showing how and when it was treated.
MPI can approve alternative treatments, but only if there is proof they can produce the same outcome as approved methods.