Tighter rules for importing vehicles and machinery will soon be enforced at New Zealand ports in an attempt to prevent the brown marmorated stink bug making landfall.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today released new treatment and cleaning rules for vehicles, machinery and equipment.
The new import health standard will come into force on September 1 this year – the beginning of the stink bug season.
Paul Hallett, MPI manager facilities and pathways, said imported vehicles and machinery pose a high biosecurity risk.
"Imported vehicles and machinery pose a high biosecurity risk, as stink bugs hibernate in nooks and crannies during the northern hemisphere winter.
"We want to do everything we can to stop brown marmorated stink bug from invading New Zealand, given the damage it could cause to our horticulture industry."
In April the MPI came out and said more than 2000 stink bugs had been found on four car carriers coming from Japan since February, resulting in 8300 vehicles being turned away.
The pest has the potential to destroy New Zealand's fruit and vegetable industry and is resistant to many insecticides, making it difficult and expensive to control.
Kiwifruit, apples, apricots, pears, vegetables, wine, other fruit and plant seeds are most at risk in New Zealand.
Hallett said the new standard has a big focus on Japan. However, there are also new restrictions on imports from many European countries.
Fourteen more countries have been added to the list requiring mandatory treatment of vehicles and machinery during the stink bug season.
"One of the big things is making it compulsory for treatment to take place offshore for non-containerised vehicles and machinery sourced from affected countries. We simply don't want to run the risk of having contaminated cargo enter New Zealand waters," Hallett said.
"The new standard also covers new vehicles from Japan. In the past we have focused on used vehicles from this country. New vehicles can be easily contaminated if they are not securely stored."
The approved treatment options are fumigation with methyl bromide or sulfuryl fluoride and heat treatment.
"We expect most of the imports from Japan will undergo heat treatment, as that's going to be available locally and Japan has restrictions on some fumigants," Hallett said.
Under the new standard:
• 14 more countries have been added to the list requiring mandatory treatment of vehicles and machinery during the stink bug season. This requirement previously only applied to vehicles from the United States and Italy.
• Used imports from Japan will need to be treated and cleaned offshore as part of an approved system during the season.
• All other new and used imports (during the stink bug season) from other countries covered by the standard will need to be treated or go through an approved system.
• Vehicle manufacturers will have the option of applying to MPI for biosecurity approval of their supply chain processes, thereby avoiding the need to treat each new unit. This involves having strict controls in place to reduce the risk of contamination.
• Used machinery from any country must have a certificate proving it has undergone thorough cleaning and treatment before arrival in New Zealand. There must be evidence the machinery was disassembled for cleaning. It must also arrive with a sticker showing how and when it was treated.
• MPI can approve alternative treatments, but only if there is proof they can produce the same outcome as the approved methods.