fbpx
Print this page
Friday, 10 May 2019 09:27

Border biosecurity need tech upgrade

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
MPI director-general Ray Smith. MPI director-general Ray Smith.

A review of biosecurity controls at New Zealand borders recommends continuously adapting new technology.

The review was commissioned by MPI director-general Ray Smith after fruit fly was detected in Auckland earlier this year. Australian biosecurity expert Rob Delane did the review.

Smith says it is pleasing to see that the review found overall border protection services in mail and passenger pathways are world-class and they protect New Zealand well.

But it notes significant challenges to NZ’s border and urges ongoing tactical and strategic improvement.

“To that end, a number of recommendations are made that I will ask Biosecurity New Zealand to carefully consider,” says Smith.

Importantly, MPI must equip with new technology to ensure its border systems keep up with rapid changes in travel and trade.

“The findings support our work to develop new baggage scanning technology, recommending that we move quickly to use real time tomography to scan all baggage at Auckland Airport,” says Smith.

“We are well advanced in developing a prototype scanner that can automatically detect goods that pose biosecurity risk. Earlier this month, officers detected an egg in a suitcase shortly after the installation of the first version of software specially designed for biosecurity.”

Interestingly, the review makes no case for additional detector dogs but suggests other changes would lead to more effective use of our existing dogs. And it recommends finding ways to fast-track low risk passengers through airport processes, something MPI is keen to talk further about with airlines and airports.

“But our bottom line will always be that biosecurity cannot be compromised,” he says.

Controls back in place

Controls on the movement of fruit and vegetables in the Auckland suburb of Northcote are back following the detection of another Queensland fruit fly.

A single male fruit fly was found in one of the network of traps remaining in place following the discovery of six other fruit flies in the area between February 20 and March 14.

The previous restrictions on the movement of fruit and vegetables were lifted in April, although additional surveillance was kept as a precaution.

“This latest fly was found 185m from the edge of the previous control zone A, and 460m from where a cluster of male flies was found,” says Biosecurity New Zealand spokeswoman Catherine Duthie.

“Despite this latest find there is still no evidence of a breeding population.”

More like this

China back on track?

Life in China is starting to get back to some semblance of normality, according to MPI’s deputy director general of China Relations.

MPI says it will act

MPI says it takes the claims made by Jane Li seriously and where it has evidence that exporters are not meeting their requirements, it will take action.

Trusts to get extra help

MPI says it’s looking at increasing its support to Rural Support Trusts and other rural advisory groups.

MPI launches recruitment drive

MPI is set to launch a major advertising campaign to attract people to work in a range of jobs across the agricultural sector.

Featured

Water reforms come at a cost

The government’s new freshwater laws, signed off this week, have the potential to create significant unnecessary costs for ratepayers, farmers and entire communities, Federated Farmers says.

2020 harvest yields up

Final harvest data for wheat, barley and oats (milling/malting and feed) in 2020 show yields were up 17% overall across the six crops.

 

Difficult but the right call

DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says the joint decision three years ago to eradicate Mycoplamsa bovis was a difficult call.

Milking cluster milks runner-up award

DeLaval has come away with the runner up prize in this year’s Fieldays Online innovation competition with a new milking cluster that eliminates the need for conventional liner changes.

Glow worms to cows

Thomas Lundman's work focus has gone from tracking tiny critters in pitch black caves to looking after considerably larger animals in paddocks near Whakatane.