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NZ: Fight against fruit fly strengthened through biosecurity partnership

An agreement to fight the threat of fruit flies has been renewed and updated by the government and eight of New Zealand’s largest horticulture industry groups. The Fruit Fly Operational Agreement, first signed in May 2016, was the first such agreement under the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response (GIA). The agreement sets out the operational requirements for biosecurity readiness and response, as well as cost sharing between the government and affected industries. Its renewal enhances New Zealand’s protection from the threat of fruit flies arriving and ensures that, as a country, we are well-prepared if a response is required, as happened with the large Auckland Fruit Fly response in 2019.

Fruit Fly Council chair, Matt Dyck, says the parties are very pleased to have finalized the new agreement after a period of re-negotiation and review.

“Renewing the Fruit Fly Operational Agreement illustrates the success of the partnership and will enable Biosecurity New Zealand and the horticulture sector to build on the strong foundations now in place to continue working together to manage and help reduce the impacts of fruit fly on New Zealand,” says Matt.

“Fruit flies continue to be one of the biggest biosecurity threats facing horticulture. An unmanaged fruit fly incursion would cost the horticulture industry billions of dollars and would have significant negative impacts on the economy, the community and New Zealand’s trade relationships. By working together under GIA, the government and affected industries have achieved far more than would have been possible working in isolation from each other. By harnessing the collective strengths and experiences of all the affected horticulture sectors, along with the national responsibilities of the government, we have created a strong, cohesive partnership that is delivering excellent outcomes for all New Zealanders,” Matt commented.

The new agreement took effect on 1 September 2022 and has a seven-year term. It sets out the outcomes sought by the parties in reducing the threat of fruit flies to New Zealand and the roles and responsibilities of each of the signatories.

The agreement provides for shared biosecurity readiness activities across all fruit fly species, covers responses, and allocates cost shares for the three species of fruit fly expected to have the broadest impact should they establish in New Zealand (Queensland Fruit Fly, Mediterranean Fruit Fly, and Oriental fruit fly). The agreement provides the flexibility to enable response activities to get underway rapidly if fruit flies are found, irrespective of the species and the horticultural sectors impacted.

“New Zealand’s partnership between government and primary sector industries for managing biosecurity readiness and response is world-leading,” Matt concluded; “the renewal of the Fruit Fly Operational Agreement confirms the commitment of all parties to working together under GIA and ensures that New Zealand is well placed to fight the threat of fruit fly.”

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