The Ministry for Primary Industries says a new online tool will help protect Aotearoa from more than 24,000 biosecurity threats and support exporters selling Kiwi produce to the world.
The Official New Zealand Pest Register (ONZPR) was launched today and is a one-stop-shop for all pests and diseases regulated in the biosecurity system - particularly those not wanted in New Zealand.
MPI's director of animal and plant health, Peter Thomson said New Zealand was in an enviable position - by being free from many of the most significant plant pests that could impact on our way of life - including New Zealand's primary sector exports.
Having accurate, up-to-date and accessible information on pest status was critical to rapidly identify and managing pests on imported and exported products, Thomson said.
"The database informs importers, exporters, trading partners, science partners and others across the biosecurity system about what pests are of concern to New Zealand," Thomson said.
The register also identified pests present in New Zealand that were of concern to trading partners, Thomson said.
"Our export trade could be severely disrupted if these pests are not managed on our exports before they leave our shores."
The Official New Zealand Pest Register combined all MPI's online lists and registers into one, creating a concise and clear resource for use by importers, exporters, researchers, councils and educational institutions.
"It has been a huge undertaking, given that information on pests was previously listed on multiple databases that were not readily accessible, were not able to share data and were difficult to keep up to date," Thomson said.
Thomson told RNZ the list included a huge variety of pests.
"It's everything from high-profile Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, Asian Gypsy Moth and fruitflies, right through to the most obscure bacteria and funghi that we have identified to being a concern.
"It is all sorts of things, viruses, bacteria, the lot ... it is mainly insects, pests and diseases."
Biosecurity system participants will be able to use the ONZPR to find out about the pests that are regulated on imports, or identified as unwanted or notifiable, and biosecurity threats which are of concern to trading partners receiving our horticulture produce.
Thomson told RNZ that members of the public could also use the ONZPR, and if they saw a suspicious-looking insect they should photograph it and catch it - if safe to do so.
They should then call the biosecurity hotline 0800 80 99 66.
"We want to ensure everyone is well equipped to play their part in our biosecurity system and New Zealand's export growth."
Find out more about the register here.
About the Official New Zealand Pest Register
• it provides a single accessible source of information on pests to support the biosecurity and exports sectors in New Zealand
• it supports horticulture exporters to ensure that goods exported from New Zealand are free from pests of concern for the importing country
• it provides stakeholders greatly improved access to accurate and up to date information on the regulatory status of pests in New Zealand
• it supports greater data connectivity within Biosecurity New Zealand
• it provides accurate and timely information to importers and overseas competent authorities considering exporting plant products to New Zealand
• it will link pest information to remedial actions that can be taken to manage pests found at our border.