Major threats to New Zealand's native species
Introduced pests have caused significant damage to New Zealand. Following the introduction of animals like rats and possums, our native birds, insects and lizards have come under threat. Examples include:
- possums killing trees by stripping them of leaves and seeds
- stoats and cats killing our lizards and insects
- gorse outcompeting native plant species
- Undaria destroying the habitats of native fish species.
Learn more about the impact of pests
Introduced animal pests – Te Ara
Animal pests – Department of Conservation
Animal pests and identification - Pest Detective
MPI is focused on protecting our native species through pest management. By eradicating and controlling these pests, we're able to reduce risk and reverse some of the damage already done to our environment.
Our work includes:
- funding pest control programmes
- providing policy advice to the government
- working with domestic agencies on pest control practices
- informing farmers, growers, foresters and fishers.
One of our programmes is Check, Clean, Dry. This programme helps to stop the spread of freshwater pests by encouraging people to check and clean their equipment when going between waterways.
Controlling and eradicating established pests requires a multi-agency response. By partnering with organisations like the Department of Conservation (DOC), Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), and regional councils, we work to eradicate these threats.
Pest and disease register
The pests and diseases register is our database of pests and diseases. However, it's not comprehensive – and some of the included species may not be found in New Zealand.
Pest management national plan of action
This plan was put together as a way of making it easier for the agencies involved in pest management to act in the best interests of New Zealand. It aligns the efforts of different agencies and encourages the development of people, tools and systems.
Download the Pest management national plan of action [PDF, 2.1 MB]
Industry accords help us to better regulate damaging pest plant and animal species. They play an important role as we work with industry and council partners.
National Pest Plant Accord
The National Pest Plant Accord (NPPA) helps prevent the spread of highly damaging pest plants (weeds) in New Zealand. If allowed to spread further, these pest plants could seriously damage the New Zealand economy and environment.
National Pest Pet Biosecurity Accord
Many domestic pets have the potential to become pests. For example, the eastern rosella and rainbow lorikeet are known to attack crops and can compete with our native birds for resources.
We've established the National Pest Pet Biosecurity Accord (NPPBA) to reduce the risks of the domestic trade in pets leading to new pests.
Plant Pass and the Plant Buyers' Accord
We want to be confident that our plants are free from pests and diseases. Plant Pass is a voluntary biosecurity certification scheme for plant producers and distributors. It helps plant producers identify, control, manage, and avoid biosecurity risk by:
- recognising and managing the complexity and diversity among plant producers
- providing end-to-end risk management – from nursery inputs through production to plant buyers and their environments
- helping plant producers respond to pest threats before nursery stock is distributed to customers
- improving traceability
- improving nursery hygiene measures and pest risk management
- establishing certified plant producers as trusted suppliers.
Plant Pass is a partnership between New Zealand Plant Producers Inc, MPI and other government agencies, regional councils, and plant industries.
Plant buyers can encourage plant producers to participate in Plant Pass. They can also sign the Plant Buyers' Accord. This demonstrates their commitment to reducing biosecurity risks from where plants are produced, to where they’re sold and planted.
Find out more at the Plant Pass website
Responding to established pests
We work with a number of agencies to respond to established pests. The National Interest Pest Responses programme and TBfree are 2 of the programmes that we're working on.