National Biosecurity Surveillance Review - New Zealand

The Situation

In 2002, Prime Consulting International Ltd was contracted by the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to undertake a comprehensive review of New Zealand’s biosecurity surveillance programmes.

The purpose was to evaluate the status of New Zealand’s surveillance systems and make recommendations for their further improvement.

Key parameters considered were the ability of surveillance systems to:

  • Facilitate the early detection of new organisms, pests or diseases, and enable eradication options to be pursued if required;
  • Enable demonstration of freedom from certain organisms to support market access requirements of importing countries for export products;
  • Provide essential background information on pest and disease status for use in developing Import Health Standards; and
  • Track the spread of harmful organisms within the country as the basis for determining an appropriate response.

The Process

The biosecurity review was broad-based, covering the marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments, the country’s extensive commercial agriculture, fishing and forestry industries and indigenous biodiversity. It required extensive consultation and information gathering across a wide range of government agencies as well as with industry sectors and research scientists.

The 12-month project also considered funding options for surveillance and an economic decision-making framework was developed for determining funding priorities.

The Outcome

Recommendations were made covering all aspects of New Zealand’s biosecurity surveillance system. These 98 recommendations formed the basis of work subsequently carried out over the past 13 years to improve and strengthen the system, as part of New Zealand’s overall Biosecurity Strategy.

A copy of the Prime report is available at

Prime team members involved

  • Alan Pearson
  • Grant Jeffrey
  • Inputs also from John Hellstrom, Bruce Simpson, Brian Milne, Roger Lough, Pat Dale, NIWA, Landcare Research and Nimmo-Bell & Company Ltd