Biosecurity Minister orders review after latest stink bug find

The latest discovery of a bug, which has the potential to cause major damage to the horticulture industry, has prompted a major check of the country's biosecurity facilities.

A solo brown marmorated stink bug was found in Tauranga in December.

The pest has the potential to devastate the fruit, vegetable and wine industries, and could put a multi-billion dollar hole in our economy.

Twenty-six bugs were also discovered in a box of imported shoes, bought by an eBay customer in Oamaru in December.

Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor said he wants to ensure New Zealand's biosecurity infrastructure is up to standard.

"I've asked Biosecurity New Zealand to take a fresh look at the facilities where containers of imported goods are initially emptied and checked for biosecurity risks," he said.

"I've also asked Biosecurity NZ to investigate new ways of dealing with the increasing threat posed by the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and other emerging biosecurity risks," he said.

He said the move is in response to the stink bug find in Tauranga.

"There were 29 transitional facilities handling imports within two kilometres of where the stink bug was found."

"These facilities are dotted around our ports and airports, and are a key component of New Zealand's biosecurity infrastructure."

He said the stink bug could destroy our horticultural crops, cost our economy billions of dollars and literally be a plague on our houses if they become established in New Zealand.

"No further bugs have been found in Tauranga following intensive trapping and detector dog surveillance, however, we can't be too careful or hands-off when it comes to biosecurity."

Mr O'Connor has requested Biosecurity New Zealand to take a fresh look at the country's 4,518 transitional facilities to make sure they have the capacity and expertise to properly handle increasing numbers of imports in a riskier global biosecurity environment.

"It's all of our responsibility to take on New Zealand's number one challenge  biosecurity."