Biosecurity New Zealand has released a new web tool for people to report suspected exotic pests and diseases online.
Alerts from the public about things that appear out of the ordinary to them, along with reports from primary-sector partners, make up an important part of New Zealand’s strong biosecurity system, says Biosecurity New Zealand’s deputy director-general, Stuart Anderson.
In 2021, phone calls to the ministry’s exotic pests and diseases hotline triggered 1,942 investigations.
Few of those resulted in actual incursions, but every report was valued, Mr Anderson said.
If highly invasive exotic pests like the brown marmorated stink bug or Queensland fruit fly went unreported, they could establish here, creating significant damage to our environment and economy.
Strict importing rules, offshore agreements and inspections, and frontline border operations keep New Zealand well protected from threats and make New Zealand one of the foremost biosecurity systems in the world, he said.
“It’s very important that people can easily report things to us, and this new tool will enable that, providing an alternative to the existing 0800 phone hotline.”
From the Biosecurity New Zealand website, users are guided through the reporting process and can submit photos, location of finds and other information.
“Reports are then processed by our same team that handles phone hotline reports,” says Mr Anderson.
“Submitters will receive a response from our investigation and specialist science teams in a similar timeframe to the current 0800 phone reporting system – generally within 24 hours. However, those reporting urgent matters such as mass mortalities of animals, for example birds, fish, and shellfish, and animal diseases will be directed to the phone line.
“The new reporting tool can be online, alongside information on the priority exotic pests and diseases we’re keeping an eye out for in New Zealand.”
Mr Anderson encourages people to contact Biosecurity New Zealand as soon as they suspect they’ve found something of concern, as early reports enable early action.
Source: Biosecurity New Zealand