Government unveils massive one-stop information shop on New Zealand pests

A Queensland fruit fly.
A Queensland fruit fly. Photo credit: Getty

Eric Frykberg for RNZ

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has unveiled a new website which contains information about no fewer than 24,000 pests.

The register is a one-stop-shop for all dangerous insects and diseases regulated in the biosecurity system.

It includes pests that threaten New Zealand from overseas and pests within the country that could bring trouble to other countries which take New Zealand exports.

MPI director of animal and plant health Pete Thomson said the aim was to have information about all pests that could be a threat in one place.

"Having accurate, up-to-date and accessible information on pest status is critical to rapidly identify and managing pests on imported and exported products," Thomson said.

"It has been a huge undertaking, given that information on pests was previously listed on multiple databases that were not readily accessible, were not able to share data and were difficult to keep up to date."

Thomson said the list included a huge variety of pests.

"It's everything from high-profile Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, Asian Gypsy Moth and fruitflies, right through to the most obscure bacteria and funghi that we have identified to being a concern.

"It is all sorts of things, viruses, bacteria, the lot ... it is mainly insects, pests and diseases."

Thomson said the database was basically designed for importers and exporters, but members of the public who saw an insect they did not like the look of should photograph it and catch it if safe to do so.

They should then call the biosecurity hotline 0800 80 99 66.

"New Zealand is in an enviable position being free from many of the most significant plant pests that could impact on our way of life including New Zealand's primary sector exports," Thomson said.

He wants it kept that way.