Untreated US vehicles could be sent back
Untreated vehicles arriving from the United States could be sent back at the shipper's expense under strict new rules intended to keep New Zealand free of brown marmorated stink bug.
A directive from the Ministry for Primary Industries came into force today (15 October) making it compulsory for all bulk imported vehicles and machinery from the US to be heat treated or fumigated before being shipped to New Zealand.
In previous years MPI biosecurity staff have found increasing numbers of brown marmorated stink bug during border inspections of vehicles arriving from the US, says Andrew Spelman, MPI's Border Clearance Manager, Central and South.
"The new rules will minimise the risk of stink bugs establishing in New Zealand well before imported vehicles reach New Zealand. This is about pushing the biosecurity risk offshore," he says.
"We will be assessing each arriving vessel on a case-by-case basis, but ultimately some ships could have to return untreated vehicles and machinery to the US at their own expense."
MPI introduced mandatory treatment requirements last December for all vehicles and machinery imported from the US, but allowed some treatment of bulk imports on vessels before landing or on the Auckland wharf.
"We're taking the restrictions a step further now that treatment facilities are fully operational at the main US vehicle export ports in Baltimore and Savannah.
"We have worked closely with importers on this issue. There is agreement that sufficient facilities are now in place in the US to allow them to comply with MPI’s requirements."
Brown marmorated stink bug could cause serious damage to New Zealand's horticulture industry.
MPI is currently running an awareness campaign highlighting the dangers of the pest. It encourages any suspect sighting to be reported to its pest and disease hotline – 0800 80 99 66.