Heather was introduced to New Zealand to add a bit of variety and colour.  What seemed like a good idea has gone badly wrong. Photo: Cathy Jones.
Heather was introduced to New Zealand
to add a bit of variety and colour

What is biosecurity?

Myrtle rust.
The fungal disease Myrtle rust is expected to arrive in New Zealand

Biosecurity is about keeping New Zealand free of unwanted organisms and for controlling, managing or eradicating them should they arrive in the country. Biosecurity helps to prevent or reduce any damage caused by unwanted organisms, and to protect and preserve the land, water, industry and people of New Zealand.

The Department of Conservation manages 8 million hectares of land, about 30% of New Zealand's land area. DOC is responsible for preserving and protecting these areas, including managing threats from invasive pests and diseases.

New Zealand's unique ecosystem

Check, Clean and Dry between waterways logo.
Check, Clean, Dry to help prevent the
spread of didymo and other freshwater

New Zealand has a unique ecosystem that evolved without many of the animal and plant groups found elsewhere, such as cats, mustelids, ungulates, creeping tropical grasses, large submerged freshwater plants and leguminous shrubs.

However many of these species arrived with humans and now threaten the survival of our unique native species. Without the presence of native predators they have been able to thrive.

New Zealand's biosecurity systems

New Zealand’s biosecurity systems are under pressure from increasing travel and trade. Many exotic pests arrive at our borders with travellers and in imported goods. Some are brought here intentionally others are just hitching a ride.

The scope of biosecurity has expanded from its traditional focus on protection of primary production and trade, to cover human health and indigenous environments.

You can help

Keep watch logo.
Have you found something that is
potenially an unwanted pest or disease?

Members of the public have an important role to play in surveillance – keeping watch around home and work for anything that is potentially an unwanted pest and disease.

If you think you have found a pest, plant disease or animal disease, that should not be in New Zealand, call the Minsitry for Primary Industries toll free, 24 hour emergency hotline 0800 80 99 66.

Ministry for Primary Industries

The Ministry for Primary Industries leads New Zealand's biosecurity system. It is tasked with a "whole of system" leadership role, encompassing economic, environmental, social and cultural outcomes.

Ministry of Primary Industries Biosecurity NZ website

Biosecurity Strategy

The Government released New Zealand's first Biosecurity Strategy in August 2003. The Strategy proposes a new direction for New Zealand's biosecurity, to deal with the mounting pressures on the biosecurity system. It provides guidance to all involved in biosecurity. The Strategy raises public awareness and understanding of biosecurity.

Biosecurity Strategy on Ministry for Primary Industries Biosecurity NZ website