Handling unwanted organisms: getting permission

To handle an unwanted organism in any way, you'll need to apply for permission from MPI. Find out what you need to do.

Preventing the spread of unwanted organisms

An unwanted organism is any organism that's capable of causing harm to natural or physical resources (like forests and waterways) or human health. A number of introduced pests in New Zealand are classed as unwanted.

Undaria and wallabies are just 2 examples – they both have the potential to cause serious environmental harm if allowed to spread throughout New Zealand. Under the Biosecurity Act 1993, it's an offence to breed, sell or release these organisms.

You can search unwanted organisms in the Unwanted Organisms database.

Permission to handle unwanted organisms

Before handling a suspected unwanted organism, check to see if it's listed in the Unwanted Organisms database.

If the organism is listed in the database, you'll need to fill out an application form to get permission to move, sell, breed, exhibit or release it. After you've submitted your application, we'll assess it before sending out a document detailing our decision. Our assessment process can take up to a month.

Harvesting or farming Undaria

Undaria is a highly invasive seaweed – but it can also be cultivated for human consumption. If you want to commercially harvest or farm Undaria, you'll need to fill out the application forms.

Commercial Use Policy for Undaria

In 2010, the Government created a policy on the harvesting of Undaria which allows:

  • farming in selected heavily infested areas
  • harvesting when growing on artificial surfaces and selected areas. 

The policy was developed following public consultation.  If you are interested in the benefits and risks associated with expanding the scope of commercial use and how this was assessed, refer to the discussion paper and Cabinet paper.

Moving wallaby joeys to a sanctuary

There's a generic permission in place under the Biosecurity Act 1993 to cover wallaby joeys orphaned through hunting. By following certain conditions, hunters can transport Bennett's wallaby joeys to the wallaby park at Enkledoovery Korna, Waimate.

The generic permission document outlines the different conditions you need to be aware of if you plan to transport Bennett's wallaby joeys.

Who to contact

If you have questions about handling unwanted organisms, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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