Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee

The Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee (BMAC) provides independent advice to the Minister for Biosecurity on the performance of the biosecurity system. Find out about the committee and its current members.

About the committee

BMAC was set up in 2005 to provide high-quality, independent advice to the Minister for Primary Industries on the performance of New Zealand's biosecurity system. It consists of up to 10 members who serve 3-year terms on the committee.

The committee advises the Minister on a number of issues, including:

  • ensuring the biosecurity system supports and protects a range of interests, including environmental and human health, social and cultural interests, and growth, innovation and sustainability across primary industries
  • opportunities to improve the biosecurity system, especially using a whole-of-system approach to policies and regulations
  • efficiency, cost-effectiveness and capability of the biosecurity system
  • future trends, risks and issues that may impact on the performance of the biosecurity system.

Meet the committee members

BMAC members are appointed by the Minister and are selected to ensure the Committee has a variety of perspectives, skills and interests.

Graeme Marshall (Chair)

Graeme Marshall retired from the role of commercial manager at Port of Tauranga at the end of 2013. During his tenure, his portfolio included management of cruise, bulk, break-bulk container operations, marine and security. He began working in ports in 1978 at the Port of Napier where he moved up to general manager before leaving in 1997.
Graeme is now a business development consultant for Northport Ltd, a director of Port Taranaki, director (elect) of Kiwifruit Vine Health and is on the governance board of Bay of Connections – an economic development group.

Rob Phillips

Rob Philips is the chief executive of Environment Southland, a role he started in 2012. Previously, he was the director of operations for Taranaki Regional Council and has worked for Environment Canterbury.

Rob is chair of the Landcare Research Stakeholder Advisory Panel and a member of the governance group for the New Zealand's Biological Heritage National Science Challenge. He's chaired a number of regional council staff groups covering biosecurity and biodiversity.

Sue Yerex

Sue Yerex and her husband have farmed sheep and beef in the Lake Taupo catchment for 20 years. She is a foundation trustee and the deputy chair of the Lake Taupo Protection Trust, a second-term Director of the QEII National Trust and chairs its investment committee.

Before her farming career, Sue worked as a rural bank manager for 16 years. She is a registered valuer and certified hearings commissioner.

Caroline Saunders

Caroline Saunders has worked at Lincoln University since 2001, where she is a Professor of trade and environmental economics and director of the Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit. She has been on the Royal Society of New Zealand Council since 2002, was a director of AgriQuality in 2006 and 2007 and currently serves on the Landcare Research Board.

Caroline has published over 300 research papers on the economic impact of policy, including research on international trade, resource use in regions, market access and increasing the value of New Zealand exports. She was awarded economist of the year in 2007 and made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009.

Catherine Taylor

Catherine Taylor is the former chief executive and director of Maritime New Zealand, where she was involved in the response to the grounding of the vessel Rena and the subsequent oil and container debris spill.

Catherine is chair of the Life Flight Trust, a member of the Building Practitioners Board, and a director of Nelson Airport Limited.

Jacqueline Beggs

Jacqueline Beggs works at the University of Auckland as an Associate Professor in ecology and entomology in the School of Biological Sciences – where she is deputy research director. Her research spans invasion ecology and conservation biology with a focus on improving biosecurity management of invasive species.

Jacqueline is the director of the Centre for Biodiversity and Biosecurity (University of Auckland and Landcare Research), a trustee of the Endangered Species Foundation New Zealand, a member of the Kakapo Recovery Group and is on the Science Advisory Panel for Little Barrier Island/Hauturu.

Peter Ombler

Peter Ombler joined the kiwifruit industry as a Lincoln University graduate more than 30 years ago, beginning his own orchard in the late 1980s. He was president of New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc from 2008 to 2011 and was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2012.

Peter will step down as chair of Kiwifruit Vine Health in August 2016 – during his tenure he managed the Psa response on behalf of the industry. He now works with Zespri in the global supply business, assisting French growers to produce kiwifruit under licence for off-season supply.

Philip Hulme

Philip Hulme holds the inaugural Chair in Plant Biosecurity at Lincoln University, where he researches invasive plant ecology, with a focus on tools to prevent or mitigate the impacts of invasions on agricultural production, biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Before taking up the position at Lincoln University, he was the head of ecosystem dynamics at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in the United Kingdom. During that time, he was appointed to the UK Government's Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment – a group that assessed the risks from genetically modified organisms.

Phil coordinates plant and animal invasions risk assessment research in the major European integrated project ALARM and since 2003 he has been editor of the Journal of Applied Ecology. In 2013, Phil was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Find out more

In 2015, BMAC released a "horizon scan" report identifying key issues and challenges for biosecurity over the coming decade. This report contributed to early thinking for the Biosecurity 2025 project.

Who to contact

If you have questions about the committee or its work, email

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