Assigning responsibility for pest management

When an unwanted pest establishes in New Zealand, there are a range of regional and national organisations that can respond. In some cases, it's not clear who should take the lead so MPI has developed regulations to help the Minister for Primary Industries assign responsibility.

A clearer way to assign responsibility

If a harmful pest is found in New Zealand there are a range of avenues, such as national, regional and small-scale management plans, we can use to manage the organism. In some cases it might not be clear who is responsible for taking the lead, which could delay an effective management response.

A nationwide review of New Zealand's pest management system found occasions where no-one was willing or able to make a decision on a pest that wasn't already being effectively managed.

MPI has developed the Biosecurity (Process for Assignment of Responsibility for Decision on Harmful Organism or Pathway) Regulations 2016 to provide a back-up when:

  • no plan or programme is in place
  • no agreement can be reached on who is responsible for managing a pest.

The regulations were developed after consultation.

From the nationwide review, MPI also developed a National Policy Direction for Pest Management

New regulations for decision making

The new regulations set out the process for the Minister for Primary Industries to use to determine responsibility if an unwanted organism has established in New Zealand and there is no clear lead for the response. This responsibility is to make a decision on whether a pest should be managed, and if so by whom.

The Minister can assign responsibility to a government department, regional council, pest management agency, industry or community group or an individual. Government departments and regional councils will be legally-bound to make decisions under these regulations.

Triggering the regulations

The regulations can be triggered by anyone writing a letter or email, requesting the Minister assigns responsibility for responding to a harmful organism or pathway. If the Minister accepts the application, MPI will provide advice and assist in consultation. This process can be sped up if there is justification for an urgent decision.

MPI is responsible for administering the regulations, including keeping a public register on this website of the Minister's decisions and subsequent actions taken by the parties assigned responsibility.

Who to contact

For more information, contact

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