New treatment and cleaning rules for imported vehicles and machinery will make it harder for brown marmorated stink bugs to make landfall in New Zealand, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
MPI released the new import health standard for vehicles, machinery and equipment today. It will come into force on 1 September – the beginning of the stink bug season.
"Imported vehicles and machinery pose a high biosecurity risk, as stink bugs hibernate in nooks and crannies during the northern hemisphere winter," says Paul Hallett, MPI manager of facilities and pathways.
He says the new standard has a big focus on Japan following biosecurity issues earlier this year with contaminated vehicle carriers.
There are also new restrictions on imports from many European countries, recognising the spread of stink bug through this part of the world.
"One of the big things is making it compulsory for treatment to take place offshore for non-containerised vehicles and machinery sourced from affected countries. We simply don't want to run the risk of having contaminated cargo enter New Zealand waters.
"The new standard also covers new vehicles from Japan. In the past, we have focused on used vehicles from this country. New vehicles can be easily contaminated if they are not securely stored.”
The approved treatment options are fumigation with methyl bromide or sulfuryl fluoride and heat treatment, says Mr Hallett.
"We expect most of the imports from Japan will undergo heat treatment, as that’s going to be available locally and Japan has restrictions on some fumigants.
"We want to do everything we can to stop brown marmorated stink bug from invading New Zealand, given the damage it could cause to our horticulture industry," says Mr Hallett.
Under the new standard: