David is the business writer for the Bay of Plenty Times and Rotorua Daily Post.

Hui seek views on how to keep NZ pest free

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The Ministry for Primary Industries held two meetings in Tauranga this week to solicit views on how to keep New Zealand pest free as part of a nationwide consultation to develop a new biosecurity strategy.

The meetings followed the launch last week of the Biosecurity 2025 public consultation by Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy. The existing strategy is now a decade old.

"Biosecurity is a shared responsibility and we need the awareness of all New Zealanders," Mr Guy says in the consultation document.

Julie Collins, MPI's director of biosecurity and animal welfare, led a public meeting in Tauranga attended by a wide range of participants, including regional councillors, biosecurity contractors, kiwifruit growers and others; followed by a hui for BOP iwi representatives. Rotorua people were encouraged to attend the Tauranga and Hamilton meetings.

"People here really understand the impact a nasty incursion can produce [because of Psa]," she said.

"Also you've got the Port of Tauranga, where people are seeing a lot of traffic. It's a great region for us to come to talk about what we need to do differently in the future."

Carlton Bidois, deputy chairman of Ngati Ranginui Iwi Inc Society, who took part in the hui, said he was encouraged by Ms Collins' willingness to engage with Tangata Whenua across a range of levels.

"She acknowledged the seriousness of biosecurity for Tauranga Moana," he said. "I'll be taking back to our people the need to make the most of our good relations with the BOP Regional Council to engage with them on biosecurity."

MPI has proposed five strategic directions for its new policy:

-A biosecurity team of 4.7 million - Ensuring every New Zealander becomes part of the biosecurity awareness team.

-A toolbox for tomorrow - Prioritising innovation to make use of technological developments.

-Free-flowing information highways - Making use of the vast array of data across the system to better inform risk management.

-Effective leadership and governance - System-wide leadership and inclusive governance support for all participants.

-Tomorrow's skills and assets - A capable and sustainable workforce and world-class infrastructure foundation for an effective biosecurity system.

The hui and public meetings will be in six centres and will run until September 1. The biosecurity team is also taking written submissions and conducting an online survey. Public submissions close on September 9.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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