News and stories

Reflection on the 2018 Biosecurity New Zealand Forum


01 December 2018

Rosemarie Dawson, Chief Executive at Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation of New Zealand (CBAFF), shares her experiences at the Biosecurity New Zealand Forum.

As part of the 2018 Biosecurity New Zealand Forum, I facilitated a workshop - Managing risk with the growth and pressure on the system.

The session looked at issues such as how can we get business to ‘own’ some of the responsibilities to manage risks from mail parcels, air passengers or sea containers.

We looked at what the impediments to this are and the differences an individual organisation or company can make. We discussed innovative approaches and how organisations/companies can collaborate to make a collective difference in how risk is managed. We also looked at what would make it easier for businesses and organisations to do this. That included whether they need better tools or information – such as Government support, legislative change or system leadership.

Interest was such that we could really have done with an extra hour to fully answer all the questions from a cross section of delegates, including many from industry – there was a real appetite to learn more.

That was particularly satisfying for me, as a member of the steering group for Biosecurity 2025.

Biosecurity 2025 is about the “partnership between individuals, iwi, hapu, non-government organisations, industries, businesses, community groups, and central, regional and local government. It provides a common direction for the collective efforts of all participants in the biosecurity system and takes a future-focused look at how to strengthen the biosecurity system in the face of increasing pressures, including the changing scale and complexity of global trade and travel, and climate change.”

This work is important to shape the long-term outlook of biosecurity for our country and the wide cross section of committee members reflects the broad brush the programme is taking – to involve all New Zealanders in biosecurity.

I see one of my roles on the committee as input around the importance of trade.

CBAFF’s members play a crucial role in New Zealand’s international trade and our sector is already strongly focused on biosecurity. However, Biosecurity 2025 is focused on making every New Zealander take an active role. This helps our sector, and all business, by encouraging customers and supply chains to engage more closely in protecting our borders from incursions.

It’s very satisfying to see the exciting work that is beginning to happen as a result of the Implementation Plan that has now been released.

Sector groups are developing their responses to Biosecurity 2025 and some really good work is beginning to emerge to enable greater engagement in the supply chain.

For instance, the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand is doing a very interesting piece of work with the Meat Industry Association to encourage members, and others, to commit to a strong focus on how they and their supply chains are performing in this area. The emphasis is on import/exporting companies, or those whose operations use imported goods but it could be adapted to different business contexts. I look forward to its release. We are looking at developing a version for our members and I think it will be of significant interest across industry as a whole. 

The Biosecurity New Zealand Forum was also a very dynamic event – with a strong focus on what we can all do differently to have a positive impact on New Zealand’s biosecurity. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) or the Queensland Fruit Fly tend to spring to mind when we talk about biosecurity. But it’s also about pathogens and risks to human health as well as to agriculture and horticulture. The forum concentrated on inspiring and taking action. Sessions looked at issues such as partnerships and collaborations for delivering real step change and building a total system health approach to biosecurity surveillance.

One of the key goals of Biosecurity 2025 is to “build a biosecurity team of 4.7 million” – every New Zealander. The aim is to create a movement that connects and aligns all the actions and activities and encourages further action. I believe we have made a good start!