Draft import health standard for importing Prunus plants for planting

Closing Date:
Contact: Plant imports

Have your say

From 28 June 2019 to 8 August 2019 the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) invites comment on the draft Import Health Standard for Prunus Plants for Planting. This standard sets 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 are in the consultation documents.

What's proposed?

Some key differences between the existing and proposed standards are as follows:

  • 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 has 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 includes 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 is considering these measures, along with other options considered, are discussed in Part of the Risk management proposal.

Consultation documents

Another document – 'Import risk analysis for Prunus plants for planting' – will be released soon. Until then, if you need more information, email plantimports@mpi.govt.nz

Making your submission

Email your feedback on the draft by 5pm on 8 August 2019 to plantimports@mpi.govt.nz

Make sure you include in your submission:

  • the title of the consultation document in the subject line of your email
  • your name and title (if applicable)
  • your organisation's name (if you're submitting on behalf of an organisation)
  • your contact details (for example, phone number, address and email).

While we prefer email, you can send your submission by post to:

Plant Imports
Ministry for Primary Industries
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6140
New Zealand.

All submissions received by the closing date will be considered before the amended import health standard (IHS) is issued. MPI may hold late submissions on file for consideration when the issued IHS is next revised or reviewed.

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 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

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