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10 June 2005
Biosecurity New Zealand has launched the 'Know the Enemy' campaign to
alert all New Zealanders to the importance of border protection and the
role everyone can play in ensuring our biosecurity is effective.
As an island nation, New Zealand is susceptible to infiltration by
exotic species. These species have the potential to harm our way of life,
health, environment and export industries. Given that potential, every
possible step must be taken to prevent biosecurity breaches.
In August 2003, the Biosecurity Council published New Zealand's first
biosecurity strategy, answering a Government undertaking to increase the
country's border protection. The strategy proposed a new direction to deal
with mounting pressures on New Zealand's biosecurity.
As part of that, last November Biosecurity New Zealand was launched,
taking over from MAF's Biosecurity Authority. Although Biosecurity New
Zealand still comes under MAF, it is now charged with a wider mandate to
protect New Zealand's biosecurity systems.
Although New Zealand border authorities are constantly vigilant,
screening the hundreds of thousands of passengers and millions of tonnes
of freight that pass through our borders each year, the border still
requires a second line of defence: public vigilance.
The best backup for the border protection is the public. The 'Know the
Enemy' campaign is aimed at educating all New Zealanders to keep their
eyes open for exotic pests in their backyards, on their farms, and in the
bush and then to pick up the phone and report anything suspicious.
Already, New Zealanders show a high awareness of biosecurity issues and
so are well placed to join the effort to protect our borders from these
seemingly insignificant but potentially high impact incursions.
But there's a lot New Zealanders can do, and it's not hard. It's a
simple step to take if they spot something suspicious – report it to
Biosecurity New Zealand. It could save the environment and, potentially,
billions of dollars.
Early detection is the key to preventing an infestation that may be
very expensive or impossible to eradicate. If a member of the public finds
an insect pest which they suspect are one of the pests and diseases in
1. Capture it in a jar or container.
2. Euthanase it by placing it in the freezer or spraying with insecticide
3. Phone the Biosecurity New Zealand hotline on 0800 80 99 66
The Biosecurity New Zealand hotline will guide people through the
process of preparing the pest for scientific submission to one of
Biosecurity New Zealand's laboratories.
Suspected animal diseases should be checked by a veterinarian as soon
The campaign will initially target people living around the four main
ports – Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Lyttelton and nearby Christchurch.
However, because some pests can spread quickly and easily, Biosecurity New
Zealand is calling for all New Zealanders to be involved. In particular,
Biosecurity New Zealand hopes farmers, gardeners and schoolchildren will
"keep watch" for anything that looks like an unwelcome visitor as they go
about their work and play.
This campaign is about making biosecurity preventive rather than
reactive. It's about spotting pests and taking action before expensive and
inconvenient eradication programmes are necessary.
To do that, every New Zealander must "know the enemy," and be prepared
to take action by calling Biosecurity New Zealand when a possible
biosecurity threat is found.
Because it only takes one pest to damage the country, but it only takes
one of us to stop it.