An invasive weed that can reduce water quality and block irrigation systems has been discovered in the Waikato River.
The Biosecurity Law Reform Bill makes a wide range of amendments to the Act, along with related amendments to four other Acts.
"New Zealand has a highly effective biosecurity system which is recognised as world-leading, but the legislation has not kept pace with the way the system has had to evolve to meet ever-growing challenges," says Primary Industries Minister David Carter.
"The amended Act covers the areas of border biosecurity, joint decision-making on newly detected harmful organisms and on-going management of established pests.
"The reforms will enable better use of information to target risks and encourage partnerships in the management of potential biosecurity incursions."
Carter says a key plank of the reforms is the development of government-industry agreements on preparing for, and responding to, newly detected pests and diseases, and for sharing the costs of jointly-agreed activities.
"Protecting New Zealand from biosecurity risks cannot be the role of government alone. Industry expertise needs to be brought to the decision-making table to help improve prioritisation and our preparedness to respond to incursions.
"This important piece of legislation is a further step in fulfilling the vision of the Ministry for Primary Industries to grow and protect New Zealand," Carter says.