Controlling and preventing antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is when micro-organisms become able to resist an antibiotic or antimicrobial product, so it stops working. New Zealand has a plan to prevent and control AMR.

What is antimicrobial resistance?

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) happens when an antibiotic or other antimicrobial agent stops being effective against an unwanted microorganism. This can have serious negative impacts on animal health, welfare, and production.

Prevention and control of AMR in New Zealand

As part of a global response, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) jointly published a report addressing the changing pattern of antimicrobial resistance in New Zealand. The report outlines 5 key objectives, such as improving awareness and understanding of the issue as well as enhancing prevention and control measures. The report also highlights the need for better data about antibiotic consumption in New Zealand.

Current situation and areas for action on antimicrobial resistance [PDF, 1005 KB]

An action plan was finalised based on areas identified in the above report. The plan outlines activities under 5 objectives that MPI, MOH, and partners will implement to minimise antimicrobial resistance.

Action plan on antimicrobial resistance [PDF, 535 KB]

Year 1 progress report: action plan on antimicrobial resistance [PDF, 251 KB]

In accordance with objective 4 of the New Zealand Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance, this document provides direction on the prudent use of antimicrobials in relation to animals and plants.

Prudent use of antimicrobials on animals and plants [PDF, 261 KB]

Antibiotic Review and Reassessment Programme

Two of the priority action areas under objective 4 of the New Zealand Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (see above) are:

  • a review of the regulatory controls applied to antimicrobial-based trade name products
  • establishment of an ongoing reassessment programme for antimicrobials used in veterinary medicine.

To progress these activities, the ACVM team is reviewing registered antibiotic compounds and the agricultural compound trade name products containing them. These reviews will re-evaluate the approved use patterns, mechanisms of action, antimicrobial resistance mechanisms, and current antimicrobial resistance profile for each compound and product. This will determine whether the compound should be considered an important, highly important, or critically important antibiotic relative to New Zealand use. The outcomes of these reviews, and the impacts of this compound classification on the trade name products containing them, will be summarised in review reports and actioned through a subsequent reassessment of the antimicrobial trade name products. The review reports will be published here as they are completed.

AMR Reassessment Review: Macrolides, Later-Generation Cephalosporins and Penicillins [PDF, 371 KB]

Monitoring sales of horticultural and veterinary antibiotics

MPI has a monitoring programme that tracks sales of agricultural compounds containing antibiotics used in horticulture or veterinary medicine. The sales trends for these products are monitored to ensure that the regulatory controls on antibiotics are effective and that any notable changes can be investigated.

Scientific research on antimicrobial resistance

The following project reports evaluate the occurrence of antimicrobial-resistant foodborne pathogens in New Zealand and any likely effect these pathogens may have on human morbidity and mortality.

Background policy documents on antimicrobial resistance

The following documents provide more background information on antimicrobial resistance.

AMR guidance and visual aids

Last reviewed: