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Draft import health standard for importing Prunus plants for planting

Update – 23 January 2020

Final IHS

The final import health standard (IHS) Prunus Plants for Planting was issued 23 January 2020.

Import Health Standard Prunus Plants for Planting [PDF, 548 KB]

Update – 26 November 2019

We want your feedback on amendments to the draft standard

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) received 9 submissions on the draft standard during the original consultation that ran from 28 June to 8 August 2019. MPI reviewed all submissions and issued a final draft import health standard on 31 October 2019. However, after the final draft standard was issued, some stakeholders expressed these concerns:

  • That the draft standard does not clearly identify post-entry quarantine requirements for plants from MPI-approved offshore facilities.
  • That it would not be possible to import plants this summer if they require Level 3A post-entry quarantine (because there is insufficient Level 3A quarantine space at present).

MPI has considered these 2 issues and has made amendments to the draft standard.

What’s proposed?

  • Part 2.4 of the standard has been amended to clearly state quarantine requirements for Prunus plants for planting obtained from MPI-approved offshore facilities.
    • These plants will have a minimum post-entry quarantine period of 270 days (9 months) in a Level 3A quarantine greenhouse.
  • Transitional arrangements have been added to Part 1.7 of the standard to help allow imports to occur this year. Under the transitional arrangements, any plants imported from an MPI-approved offshore facility within 2 years after the date the standard is issued may be held in a Level 2 post-entry quarantine greenhouse for the duration of their quarantine period.
    • This is the same level of quarantine as was required under the previous standard.
    • Some additional measures will be required to better manage risk during the transition period.

Consultation documents

Draft import health standard [PDF, 428 KB]

Addendum 1: Quarantine requirements for plants from MPI-approved offshore facilities and transitional arrangements in the import health standard [PDF, 189 KB]

Original consultation documents released 28 June 2019

Note: The scope of this consultation is limited to the matters described above under the heading 'What's proposed?'.

Have your say

Email your feedback on the proposed amendments by 5pm on 3 December 2019 to   

Background to the original consultation

From 28 June 2019 to 8 August 2019 the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) invited comment on the draft Import Health Standard for Prunus Plants for Planting. This standard set out the proposed new import requirements for Prunus plants for planting (including apricot, cherry, peach, plum, nectarine, and ornamental cultivars) imported into New Zealand for further propagation.

Full details of the proposed changes were in the consultation documents.

What was proposed?

Some key differences between the existing and proposed standards were:

  • The number of regulated diseases of unknown aetiology has been reduced from 56 to 8.
  • 5 viruses have been removed from the regulated pest list, and 3 viruses added.
  • The option of testing for regulated viruses using ELISA has been removed.
  • The requirement for woody indicator testing has been removed (previously used to test for some viruses and diseases of unknown aetiology).
  • The requirement to test plants for fungi by plating leaf samples on agar has been removed.
  • The minimum time in post-entry quarantine has been reduced from 24 months of active growth in a Level 3B quarantine greenhouse (a minimum of at least 30 calendar months) to a minimum of 21 months total. Of the 21 months, only 10 must be in a Level 3B quarantine greenhouse.
  • Post-entry quarantine and disease screening requirements for plants from MPI-approved sources will be decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on what risk is managed prior to export.

Other proposals to manage high-risk pests

MPI also considered how to best manage biosecurity risk from some high risk bacterial, fungal and oomycete pests that could have negative impacts on many commercially grown and/or native plant species. This included pests from the Ceratocystis and Phytophthora genera, as well as Xylella fastidiosa.

  • MPI has proposed new requirements to grow plants under environmental conditions that will encourage the expression of disease symptoms. In part, this is because plant health inspections in post-entry quarantine are a key risk management measure for these types of pests.
  • Because of the widespread impacts these types of pests could have, MPI is seeking views on the proposed risk management measures from organisations and individuals with an interest in protecting New Zealand from biological risk associated with imported plants for planting.
  • If the proposed new measures for bacterial, fungi and oomycetes are used for Prunus plants for planting, the same measures are likely to be used for other high-value genera of plants for planting in the future.

The reasons why MPI was considering these measures, along with other options considered, were discussed in Part of the Risk management proposal.

Consultation documents

Another document – 'Import risk analysis for Prunus plants for planting' – is available on request. Email

Submissions closed at 5pm on 8 August 2019.

Next steps

After we have considered all submissions there is a 10-day period which provides submitters with the opportunity to examine any changes to the IHS which have resulted from the consultation. An independent review (under section 24 of the Biosecurity Act 1993) may be requested in this period if a submitter considers scientific evidence they raised during their submission has not received sufficient consideration. If there is no review, the IHS becomes final after 10 days.

Find out more about the review process

Submissions are public information

Any submission you make becomes public information. Anyone can ask for copies of all submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make the information available, unless we have a good reason for withholding it. You can find those grounds in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA. Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission. Reasons might include, it's commercially sensitive or it's personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may require the information be released.

Legal background

MPI must consult with interested parties in accordance with section 23 of the Biosecurity Act 1993 (the Act) and MPI's consultation policy before issuing or amending (other than of minor or urgent nature) import health standards (IHS) under sections 24A and 24B of the Act.

An IHS specifies import requirements that must be met either in the country of origin or of export, or during transit, before biosecurity clearance can be given for the goods to enter New Zealand. MPI must ensure that these requirements are technically justified and provide an appropriate level of biosecurity protection.

Find out more