MAF eases restrictions for the importation of horses from Australia

23 December 2008

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) has today issued a provisional import health standard (IHS) for the importation of horses from Australia, removing the existing import requirements for equine influenza.

We have put significant work into finalising the new IHS in anticipation of Australia meeting the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines as being free of equine influenza, says Team Manager Animal Imports and Exports Group, Dr Rachelle Linwood.

"Australia's Chief Veterinary Officer provided MAFBNZ with Australia's eradication and surveillance information and we are satisfied that the requirements of freedom from Equine Influenza, as per the OIE code, will be met on the 25th of December 2008.

"This date marks the one year anniversary of the last case of horse flu in Australia, and with the summer racing season upon us we want to be in a position to issue a new IHS and lift the current restrictions on horse imports from Australia as quickly as possible. This has involved an in depth technical review of the situation in Australia that resulted in us proposing a new IHS and releasing it for public consultation. The consultation period ended yesterday and all submissions received were supportive of the proposed standard, which removes the requirements for vaccination, testing, and pre-export and post-arrival quarantine.

"Since all the submissions received are positive, no-one is eligible to seek a review under Section 22A of the Biosecurity Act 1993, and therefore the final IHS is expected to be issued in the week of the 5th of January 2009", says Dr Linwood.

Until such time as the provisional import health standard is made final, the current version of the import health standard for the importation into New Zealand of horses from Australia (dated 17 April 2008) will apply.

The provisional import health standard can be viewed at the following website: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/regs/imports/ihs/provisional.

Media contact:

Helen Keyes
MAFBNZ Communications Manager
04 894 0161 or 029 894 0161
Helen.keyes@maf.govt.nz

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