A new biosecurity initiative has been launched at Port of Tauranga today.

Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy, who launched the event, said had the potential to be a model for other ports around the country.

Biosecurity Operational Excellence at Port of Tauranga is a scheme which aims to encourage everyone involved in working around the port to play a role in keeping pests out of New Zealand.

"There is an opportunity potentially for us to replicate this into other ports around the country and I know there is quite a bit of interest," said Mr Guy.

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At Thursday's launch, the minister unveiled new on-site biosecurity signs designed to help raise awareness of potential threats to primary industries from unwanted pests.

The programme also includes increased awareness raising during induction training for port workers, a widely distributed calendar show potential pest risks, and a current stink bug awareness campaign.

The initiative stems from the 2010 Psa incursion which ravaged the kiwifruit industry and is being driven by Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH), the Port of Tauranga, MPI and local government and industry organisations.

The aim is for everyone involved in port activities have a better understanding of the bisecurity risks. The working group is aiming to strengthen MPI's current screening and inspection programmes.

Mr Nathan said the importance placed on the initiative was reflected by the fact that Overseas Trade Minister and Rotorua MP Todd McClay also attended the Tauranga launch.
"Both [our ministries] rely heavily on this excellent initiative we are launching," said Mr Guy.

KVH chief executive Barry O'Neil said the port was a key area of risk for pest incursions.
"It's a growing port and an important port for the region and for our community. We fully support the port. What we don't want is that it creates a potential risk for our primary sector."

Zespri chief executive Lain Jager, who was one of about 40 industry and government leaders attending the laanch, said the biosecurity initiative was a genuine example of government and local industry working together.

"And that's critical," said Mr Jager. "In 2010 we were heavily impacted by Psa. But a really important idea is that the biosecurity risk pressure hasn't diminished. There are many other pests and diseases that can come in. This is about protecting our future."