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Independent Assurance Review of New Zealand’s biosecurity international border defences for passenger and mail pathways

Food industry and trade Agriculture Border security Biosecurity New Zealand

Tihs report provides an important opportunity for a status update and forward-looking perspective for the Ministry for Primary Industries and its stakeholders on specific critical elements of the nation’s border biosecurity services.

Overall, the Reviewer is in no doubt that New Zealand’s border biosecurity services in the targeted areas are world-class, and well-protect New Zealand. However, the Report argues that the very nature of border biosecurity, subject as it is to rapid changes in travel and trade, inability of operators of underpinning infrastructure to be sufficiently agile to adjust to changes, new technology developments, and stakeholder awareness and expectation (among other pressures), means that ongoing tactical and strategic improvement is essential.

The Reviewer argues that it is important to see the border (and pre-border) biosecurity functions as a whole, and as part of the broader New Zealand biosecurity system. While it may be expedient for some stakeholders to focus attention on a narrow (perhaps tiny) part of the suite of border biosecurity measures, the “resource-to-risk” approach that it is essential for MPI to apply, together with the ongoing tactical and strategic agility needed in order to respond to evolving trade and travel patterns, offshore biosecurity threats, technology changes, and New Zealand industry and community changes means that there will often be small cohorts of unsatisfied stakeholders.

The Reviewer wishes to highlight the openness, focus on excellence and commitment all management and staff of the Ministry for Primaries have demonstrated during the Review. The people of New Zealand should be proud and supportive of their biosecurity services personnel, and play their own part in protecting their nation’s biosecurity status, consistent with the Tiaki Promise.

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