20-20 Vigilance, Biosecurity Week

27 July 2020

Biosecurity week 2020 web banner

When it comes to controlling animal pests in New Zealand, it’s essential to keep watching out for signs that they are present and, especially, signs that they are increasing in numbers or spreading.

The principle of continual observation is the key message in this year’s Biosecurity Week theme, ’20-20 Vigilance’. The sooner we see signs of increased threat, the sooner we can take effective action.

Pest animals are amongst the organisms that threaten New Zealand’s ability to grow primary products, stay healthy and preserve our natural heritage. We are fortunate to have a world class biosecurity system, underpinned by legislation. People in the productive sector, communities and science institutions are working with central and local government to manage pests inside New Zealand and to protect our border against new pests.

New Zealand Biosecurity President, Alice McNatty, says that tried and true ways of controlling animal, plant and other pests have worked well but “something we have always known is the importance of early detection, meaning constant vigilance.”

“What are known as legacy pests have been with us for a long time and we must continue to control them so they do not spread.” Most of the animals featured on our Pest Detective website, are legacy pests that were first introduced here more than 100 years ago, such as rabbits, possums, rats and mustelids.

Ms McNatty says there are also other pest that are now becoming a problem although they have been present in New Zealand for many years. Wallabies are an example.

“There is a huge time lag from when new organisms arrive in New Zealand until they become pests.”

Currently five Unwanted Organisms feature on our website – plague skink, Bennett’s wallaby, dama wallaby, rainbow lorikeet and rook. If you think they have seen any of these, contact your regional council and phone the Ministry for Primary Industries Pests and Diseases Hotline 0800 80 99 66.

Biosecurity Week runs from 27-31 July 2020. To find out more see New Zealand Biosecurity Institute.