Know the Enemy
Public armed to spot newly introduced pests

10 June  2005

It only takes one introduced pest to damage our country and one of us to stop that pest.

That is the main message behind the Know the Enemy campaign launched today by Associate Biosecurity Minister Marian Hobbs for Biosecurity New Zealand. Biosecurity New Zealand is a division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF).

The campaign will arm ordinary New Zealanders with the information they need to identify insects and other organisms and report them to Biosecurity New Zealand.

The campaign, aimed at all New Zealanders but specifically residents in the country's main four port areas – Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Lyttelton - will involve residential mail drops, poster and bus stop advertising and radio messages.

Biosecurity New Zealand's awareness programme manager, Carolyn Kildare, said the public had a critical role in protecting New Zealand from unwanted pests and diseases.

"We have some of the toughest border controls in the world, but the public is the second line of defence.

"People know the danger posed to our country by foreign insects and diseases.

"But they also need to know how to spot these threats if they appear in the garden at home, or somewhere at work.

"The campaign therefore concentrates on illustrating what to look for – so people will know what the enemy looks like, and what to do when they see them," Ms Kildare said.

She said Biosecurity New Zealand was often alerted to major pests by people who have come across them in their own gardens or neighbourhoods.

If anyone saw one of the pests identified in the campaign, or any sort of very unusual insect, they should:

1. If possible, safely trap the pest alive in a container without using their hands

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

Know the Enemy is focusing on several pests and diseases including:

  • Giant African Snail
  • Water Hyacinth
  • Citrus Longhorn Beetle
  • Fall webworm
  • Northern Pacific Seastar starfish
  • Glassy winged sharpshooter insect
  • Avian influenza (bird flu)

However, Ms Kildare said these were just some of the major threats. An extensive list of biosecurity threats was available on the website .

'Biosecurity' is the protection of New Zealand's economy, environment and people's health from pests and diseases. It includes trying to prevent new pests and diseases arriving, and eradicating or controlling those already present. Biosecurity New Zealand was launched in 2004 and is responsible for ensuring New Zealand's biosecurity is effective and efficient. Although the country is free of many serious pests and diseases present overseas, its biosecurity systems are under pressure because of growth in international trade and travel.


Please refer to the media backgrounder for more information

For further information on the Know the Enemy Campaign and Biosecurity New Zealand please contact Carolyn Kildare on 04 470 2760 or 027 490 8036.



Last Updated: 27 September 2010

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