New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries commissioned consultancy firm Grant Thornton to review its cargo systems in 2019. The latter’s findings have now been released publicly. The report said while New Zealand's biosecurity system has previously operated effectively, it was under threat.
It said: "MPI is doing its best within current constraints, however the pressing need to clear inbound cargo dominates most activities. In this regard, the impact of the BMSB (brown marmorated stink bug) season on MPI cannot be overstated. Both New Zealand and Australia are struggling to prevent the establishment of this devastating pest which can infect and destroy over 300 types of host plants."
The report also emphasized that pressures on MPI from the above issues, combined with increasing biosecurity threats and risks and increasing cargo volumes, appeared to have made MPI too focused on tactical or immediate outcomes. It warned this approach may not be adequate enough in the long term.
"The observations over the course of this review raise uncertainty as to whether MPI are building capability quickly enough or that the present approach to managing biosecurity is sustainable."
According to rnz.co.nz, the report made 68 recommendations, including changes to cargo clearance processes, better allocation of resources, more engagement with industry and a stronger focus on automation and innovation.