A group of 50 New Zealand companies have signed a first-of-its-kind pledge to protect New Zealand from pests and diseases.
The Biosecurity Business Pledge - which includes some of New Zealand's biggest businesses, including Fonterra, Auckland Airport, Goodman Fielder, Countdown and Mainfreight - was launched on Thursday by participating businesses and Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor.
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As part of the pledge, the businesses have agreed to play their part in the efforts to prevent pests and diseases from getting into New Zealand, or helping to stop their spread if they do get here.
They also committed to integrating proactive biosecurity practices into their operations and supply chains
Damien O'Connor said joint responsibility for biosecurity was vital.
"Our primary sector is worth more than $46.4 billion dollars annually and tourism is worth more than $39 billion. The economic benefits of that flow through to all New Zealanders and we have to protect it," he said.
"The aim of the pledge is to take a more proactive approach to biosecurity by improving the partnership between government and businesses, to help prevent unnecessary costs and disruptions for Kiwi businesses, communities and the wider New Zealand economy."
Chief executive officer of participating company Miraka, Richard Wyeth, said the pledge initiative was created by business for business.
"The new pledge network will provide increased support to businesses in driving their own proactive biosecurity activity with staff, suppliers and customers. It's good business risk management. It's also part of caring for the communities we live and work in," he said.
"As businesses signing the pledge we're making a commitment to more actively integrate biosecurity into our business activities and supply chains," said Wyeth.
The latest KPMG Agribusiness Agenda, released earlier this year, revealed biosecurity was ranked as the top issue for New Zealand business leaders for the 10th year in a row.
Minister O'Connor said biosecurity was a priority for the Government.
"I'd like to thank the inaugural businesses for the leadership they have shown in creating the pledge.
"Today we have taken a major step forward. Taking a proactive approach to biosecurity will help protect New Zealand's unique natural environment, the New Zealand way of life and our economy for future generations," he said.