The review of the Biosecurity Act provides an opportunity for industry groups to have a say in the future framework to protect New Zealand.
The first of its kind in the world, our Act led a global trend in protecting the economic, environmental, social and cultural values from biosecurity risk. However, like all pieces of legislation, they become outdated and require review.
In its current form, the Act provides a basis to protect New Zealand from unwanted pests and diseases across the biosecurity system. However, in a modern world with increasing pressures from trade and tourism, the emergence of new risk pathways and climate change, we need a future-focussed Act that will provide regulatory flexibility so we can respond to biosecurity risk.
To understand how participants of the biosecurity system interact with the current framework and see the pressure points, the Ministry for Primary Industries is holding nationwide stakeholder workshops.
How the biosecurity system is funded is critical for the horticulture industry to have continued confidence in investment. The response to the Mycoplasm bovis biosecurity response has emptied the Government’s coffers and there’s not much left. This has resulted in the Government considering alternative funding mechanisms to help fund current and responses.
How the horticulture industry pays for biosecurity responses is usually under the Government Industry Agreement, or GIA, for Biosecurity Readiness and Response. Plant sector groups were early adopters of GIA, seeing the benefit of shared decision-making and cost-sharing with MPI.
Our investment in GIA means we co-fund readiness programmes for priority pests and have a mechanism to pay for responses under operational agreements with set cost shares and decision making.
We need to ensure a future system won’t add another layer of cost. This is why it’s so important for industry to have a say at the Act workshops.
Other funding issues include how growers are compensated after a response, how funds are recovered from industry groups who’re not party to GIA, the importance of on-farm biosecurity practices, GIA provisions and principles to assist economic outcomes.
I encourage everyone to get involved and attend a stakeholder workshop to share their experiences of the Act and help shape future legislation. HortNZ will continue to advocate for the interests of our members to ensure the revised Act enables our industry’s continued growth and can operate under a resilient biosecurity system that’s appropriately funded.