Better border intervention for transitional facilities
As advised in last week’s KVH Bulletin (21 Aug) KVH has been advocating for improvements to minimise biosecurity risks on several pathways. Last week focused on the cruise ship pathway, this week will focus on transitional facilities.
Transitional facilities hold un-cleared risk goods for inspection, secure storage or treatment until they receive biosecurity clearance or are re-shipped or destroyed.
While people often think of the border as a small number of places (airports and marine ports) where clearance activities occur, the reality is very different. Most biosecurity clearance activities are occurring at transitional facilities; MPI Inspectors carry out risk profiling when imported goods first arrive at a marine port or airport, clear a small proportion of such goods at those ports (those deemed to pose the highest risk), and then direct most imported goods to transitional facilities where they receive final clearance by a non-MPI accredited person.
There are approximately 6500 such transitional facilities operating in New Zealand, which means our border is very ‘diffuse’.
The key risk is the arrival of ‘hitchhiker’ pests. These tend to be insect pests, and include high-risk organisms of concern to the kiwifruit industry such as, fruit flies, brown marmorated stink bugs and white peach scale.
KVH believes the current policy approach and standards for transitional facilities need to be re-evaluated and strengthened. There are currently too many transitional facilities operating in New Zealand and of variable quality, representing a key vulnerability in NZ’s border arrangements.
Given the level of risk and the key role transitional facilities play in New Zealand’s border, it is critical we have highly trained and skilled people operating to carry out clearance activities within transitional facilities.
KVH shared its concerns with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in early 2014, and is pleased that MPI appears to be seriously looking at this issue and potential solutions.
For more information about the transitional facilities risk pathway, click here to view the fifth profile document in KVH’s ‘Profile Series: Border Interventions on Import Pathways’.