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Proposed imports of mangosteen and rambutan plants for planting

Have your say

From 30 November 2023 to 25 January 2024, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) wants your feedback on proposed changes to the import requirements for mangosteen and rambutan plants for planting.

On this page we explain how we plan to prevent harmful pests being introduced to New Zealand when these plants are imported. Our previous import requirements did not manage biosecurity risks appropriately. We suspended all imports of these plants so we could re-evaluate the risks and how to manage them. We have now done that evaluation and want to update our requirements so that people can start importing these plants again. We'd like to hear your thoughts.

We base our requirements on the best scientific evidence available to us at the time. If you know of anything that could change our conclusions, whether scientific evidence or your own industry experience, include this in your feedback.

Why we are doing this

In recent years, tropical plants have emerged as an interest area for many people. More and more New Zealanders have been asking us about importing tropical plants. We are unable to assess the risks of all the tropical plants people want to import because risk assessment takes a long time. However, we have reviewed 2 plants in this interest area: mangosteen and rambutan.

On this page you can find out:

Our proposed changes

Currently, no one can import mangosteen or rambutan plants. In the past, we required mangosteen plants to comply with the general requirements that apply to all plants for planting. We also had some special requirements for rambutan plants. However, no one imported these as plants for planting, and so we did not review our requirements for many years. Now people want to import them, and we are updating our requirements so people can import them safely.

  • You will be able to import 2 mangosteen species (Garcinia mangostana and Garcinia xanthochymus) from Malaysia and one rambutan species (Nephelium lappaceum) from Malaysia and Thailand.
  • You will be able to import bare-rooted whole plants, leafless semi-hardwood cuttings, and tissue cultures.
  • To manage the risks of pests, we propose having plants inspected when they arrive in New Zealand and as they are growing in post-entry quarantine. We will also need to test for some pests.

We have identified 16 key pests that could be associated with imported mangosteen and rambutan plants and pose a risk to New Zealand if nothing is done to prevent the pests entering. Four of these pests are associated with mangosteen and 12 with rambutan.

The new import requirements we're proposing will reduce the biosecurity risk to a negligible level. The new requirements are outlined in this consultation.

Find out more about these pests: Rationale for import requirements

Based on our assessments, we came to the following conclusions:

  • The biosecurity risks of bare-rooted whole plants and leafless semi-hardwood cuttings of mangosteen and rambutan need to be managed by Level 2 post-entry quarantine with controls on irrigation. Testing will also be required for some pests in post-entry quarantine.
  • The biosecurity risks of mangosteen and rambutan tissue cultures (plants in vitro) derived from new aerial parts of the plants can be managed by Level 2 post-entry quarantine.
  • We should require at least 3 shoot flushes in post-entry quarantine. Three shoot flushes indicate that the plants have been in continuous active growth. The flushes also indicate that suitable environmental conditions are being met in post-entry quarantine for the plants to grow and for pests to express symptoms if present.

WTO notification

NZL 757 – SPS Notification: Proposed changes to the Nursery stock import health standard for mangosteen and rambutan plants for planting [PDF, 101 KB]

Making your submission

We're happy to discuss the changes we're proposing at any time during the consultation period. To arrange a phone or video call, email plantimports@mpi.govt.nz

You can give us feedback by completing our online survey or by emailing us.

If you are making a submission by email, send it to plantimports@mpi.govt.nz

We must get your feedback by 5pm on 25 January 2024.

What we want to know

We want to hear your feedback, technical information, industry knowledge and suggestions on:

  • the measures we're proposing
  • the feasibility of importing under the proposed requirements
  • this approach to consulting you.

Proposed timeline

30 November 2023 to 25 January 2024: First consultation on proposed changes.

20 February to 12 March 2024: Second consultation on a draft import health standard.

Late March 2024: Final import health standard issued.

We will consider your feedback on our proposed changes and then draft an import health standard.

We intend to provide a second chance for you to have your say when we send the draft standard to you in February 2024. We will value your feedback on that draft.

We will read and consider all feedback on the draft standard and make any changes we need to before we publish it in late March 2024.

Our process for developing import requirements

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Rationale and costs for this proposal

This section has the reasons why we require different levels of quarantine for different types of plant material, and why specific testing is proposed for some pests.

All plants imported as bare-rooted whole plants or cuttings need to comply with general import requirements.

The general requirements that apply to all imported nursery stock manage the risk of many pests and greatly reduce the risk of many others. One of the requirements is that the nursery stock must have a certificate from the government of the exporting country. This certificate confirms that the nursery stock is healthy and has met New Zealand's pre-export requirements. However, our pre-export requirements do not completely manage the risk of all pests. Plants and cuttings will still need to go into post-entry quarantine when they arrive in New Zealand and may have to be tested for particular pests.

The tables in this section explain why we need extra requirements to manage the risks of certain pests. The rationale is supported by scientific studies. For more on the science behind this, refer to the references section

Current general requirements for bare-rooted whole plants and leafless semi-hardwood cuttings

All bare-rooted whole plants and cuttings need to comply with general import requirements. Plants and cuttings must be:

  • accompanied by an import permit
  • clearly labelled with the scientific name (genus and species)
  • in consignments that are not contaminated with soil and are packaged with inert material
  • treated with pesticides for mites, insects, and nematodes
  • accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate stating that the plants have been inspected in the exporting country according to appropriate procedures and conform with New Zealand’s current entry conditions 
  • sent to Level 2 post-entry quarantine for at least 3 months (unless a higher level of PEQ is required in the schedule of special conditions).

Bare-rooted whole plants must have an additional declaration. Either "The plants were established and raised from seed/cuttings in media that is free from soil and have been maintained out of contact with soil" or "The roots of the plants have been dipped in fenamiphos at 1.6 a. i. per litre of water for 30 minutes.”

Current general requirements for tissue culture (plants in vitro)

All plants imported in vitro need to comply with general import requirements. Plants must be:

  • accompanied by an import permit (only if it is required in the schedule of special conditions)
  • clearly labelled with their scientific name (genus and species)
  • produced in a facility that prevents contamination with regulated pests
  • grown in a transparent and pest-proof container, in which they are imported
  • grown in a sterilised growing medium that does not contain fungicides, antibiotics, or charcoal
  • accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate stating that the plants have been inspected in the exporting country according to appropriate procedures and conform with New Zealand’s current entry conditions
  • sent to Level 2 post-entry quarantine for at least 3 months (unless a higher level of PEQ is required in the schedule of special conditions), if required by the schedule.

Tables showing extra requirements to manage the risks of certain pests 

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Frequently asked questions

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Submissions are public information

Note that all, part, or a summary of your submission may be published on this website. Most often this happens when we issue a document that reviews the submissions received.

People can also ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make the content of submissions available unless we have good reason for withholding it. Those reasons are detailed in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

If you think there are grounds to withhold specific information from publication, make this clear in your submission or contact us. Reasons may include that it discloses commercially sensitive or personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold details can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may direct us to release it.

Official Information Act 1982 – NZ Legislation