Both parties signed a Sector Readiness Operational Agreement today (7 November).“The agreement demonstrates commitment to working in a strong partnership to strengthen readiness for incursions of specific pests and diseases,” says Andrew Spelman, Biosecurity NZ’s Acting Director, Biosecurity Readiness.
“This is about both organisations pulling up their sleeves to improve biosecurity readiness under the GIA (Government Industry Agreement).” Under the agreement, Biosecurity NZ and Onions New Zealand Inc will jointly fund readiness activities that will improve preparedness for incursions of pests and diseases that are considered a major concern to the onion industry. Biosecurity NZ and Onions New Zealand Inc joined the GIA in 2014 and 2015 respectively. “Signing an operational agreement will solidify the partnership that has formed over the few last years and ensure we are prepared for future biosecurity incursions,” says Mr Spelman. Chief Executive Officer of Onions New Zealand Inc Michael Ahern says: “We see this agreement as a sound initial investment in risk management for our industry under GIA. There is no doubt that the cornerstone of a good biosecurity strategy is a well-considered Industry/Government readiness work plan.” One of the tasks ahead is to draft a readiness plan for Delia antiqua (onion fly), a pest responsible for up to 90% of crop losses in temperate regions overseas. This pest is not currently found in New Zealand. Biosecurity NZ is part of the Ministry for Primary Industries.