Biosecurity Forum; celebrating success and partnering to protect

15 November 2018

KVH attended the Biosecurity New Zealand Forum in Auckland earlier this week. The forum included the awards dinner and ceremony mentioned above. Many of the awards went to Bay of Plenty organisations which was an excellent outcome for the region, but the supreme winner was Environment Southland which won for its Fiordland Marine Regional Pathway Plan, developed to reduce the risk of pests entering Fiordland. This pioneering project has created the first biosecurity pathway plan in New Zealand, which Environment Southland is using to protect one of New Zealand’s most unique areas from pests entering on local and visiting vessels.

The theme of this year’s forum was “Biosecurity: Partnering to protect” which underlined the need for us all to connect and align our efforts to ensure our biosecurity system remains world-leading. A number of keynote presentations looked to the future and how we can take action to achieve a necessary level of protection.

The challenges ahead are significant. Lyn O’Connoll, the Deputy Secretary of Australia’s Agriculture and Water Resources, said biosecurity risk to Australia was expected to increase by over 70% in the next 20 years given the volumes and complexities of modern trade, changes in climate and environment, businesses’ focus on short-term profits, and the spread of pests and diseases around the world. If this increase were to occur, investment in biosecurity would need to triple just to maintain Australia’s current level of protection. These were sobering thoughts from Australia and described a scenario which is likely to apply here as well.

However, there was plenty of inspiration as well. A common theme was that biosecurity seems to have entered a new era – there were many exciting new projects and innovative approaches on display and recognised at the awards night.

The second day of the forum was dedicated to taking action, starting with the launch of the Biosecurity 2025 Implementation Plan and a series of workshops to identify how we transition ideas into tangible actions.

The forum was opened by the new Director General of MPI, Ray Smith, who stayed throughout the event to understand the challenges and opportunities for MPI in managing biosecurity risk to New Zealand.

You can find out more about the biosecurity winners here.