Thursday, 19 May, 2011 - 12:16

Speech by Dr Stephen Goldson, Strategy Advisor to the Office of the Prime Minister’s Science Advisory Committee, to the MAF Policy, Science and Economics conference, 5 May 2011

Good afternoon everyone and thank you for asking me to this session.

I am actually an applied entomologist and had a really good time for about 15 years in the MAF Research Division and then MAF Technology before it was turned into AgResearch. I have a debt of gratitude to MAF for putting me through half of my MSc and then my PhD at Lincoln. Those who were then my bosses were great leaders and seemed particularly tolerant of the foibles of the callow neophyte I was then. People like Peter O’Hara, Robin Scott, Russ Ballard, David Joblin, Bill Kain, Rod East and many others were remarkably patient, encouraging and constructive. Indeed, MAF made such an imprint on me that when I am tired or distracted or both, I occasionally still refer to AgResearch as MAF, which is embarrassing for everyone particularly at meetings.

As I said, I have spent much of my career at Lincoln working on the suppression of some of our worst exotic forage pest species using parasitoid biological control agents. Linked to this more latterly, I have developed an interest in ways to enhance New Zealand’s border biosecurity and now work 70% of my time as the Executive Director of a multi-organisational...

Wednesday, 18 May, 2011 - 16:03

The Biological Control Agents introduced to New Zealand (BCANZ) database is now available to help regulators and researchers find information on biological control agents that have been introduced to New Zealand to help manage weed and invertebrate pests.

The database currently contains records for 720 introductions of 518 biological control agents against 126 targets (25 weeds and 101 invertebrates). This information is being constantly updated.

Initiated originally by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA NZ), BCANZ is now maintained by Better Border Biosecurity (B3).

The database includes information for each organism on the date it was imported, where it was imported from, whether or not it was eventually released into the New Zealand environment, how many organisms were released and when and if the organism established in New Zealand. A comprehensive set of references enables users to locate further information about each agent.

The database is searchable by both target organism and by biocontrol agent.

BCANZ was first made available to the public in 2007. It is used by a variety of parties including regulators, the Department of Conservation, applicants for new introductions and researchers.

Dr Geoff Ridley, Science Manager (New Organisms) at ERMA NZ says that BCANZ helps ERMA to fulfil its role in regulating...

Wednesday, 18 May, 2011 - 15:39

Lisa Berndt (Scion)

The programme ‘Better Border Biosecurity’ (B3) is a partnership between research providers (AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, Scion and Lincoln University) and end users (MAF BNZ, ERMA New Zealand, Department of Conservation and the Forest Biosecurity Research Council). One of the research priorities identified in the partnership has been to assist those applying to ERMA NZ for approval for new biocontrol agent introductions to better meet the HSNO Act Section 36 Minimum Standards.  An example of where assistance may be useful is in predicting and explaining the likelihood (which can be minuscule) of a new introduction displacing native species, or causing other deterioration of natural habitats.

When considering the release of a new biological control agent into New Zealand, the Biosecurity and HSNO Acts require that ERMA NZ take "the relationship of Māori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites, wahi tapu [sacred places], valued flora and fauna, and other taonga [treasures]" into account when applications are considered. The Act also requires that consideration be given to the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi).

The responsibility for providing to Māori an assessment of the risks, costs and benefits of a biocontrol proposal sits rests the applicants.  This...

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