New Zealand: Government strengthens measures to protect the country from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)

New Zealand: Government strengthens measures to protect the country from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)

According to Damien O’Connor, minister of biosecurity and agriculture, efforts to further safeguard New Zealand’s economy from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) continue as the government concentrates on enhancing biosecurity settings.

“Biosecurity New Zealand will this week begin using foot mats with disinfecting chemicals for arrivals from Indonesia to step onto in a trial to help ensure their footwear is clean of the virus – adding another layer of protection to the measures introduced last week.

“With FMD recently found in the tourist hotspot of Bali, we’ve taken concrete steps to boost our work at the border in recent weeks including a public awareness campaign. I call on everyone to be vigilant in playing their part to protect New Zealand’s economic security.”

Recent FMD prevention measures include:

  • A new broad-reaching awareness campaign aimed at travellers prior to their trip to Indonesia, via in-flight announcements, and upon arrival at international airports.
  • A physical audit of Indonesia’s palm kernel supply chain.
  • An FMD Readiness Taskforce is being launched by Biosecurity New Zealand to ensure that all of their preparedness efforts are current.
  • Delivering frequent information to the country’s veterinary network and primary sector partners, as well as cooperating with primary sector partners to make sure their farmers maintain vigilance.
  • Along with their technical expertise, they are sending Indonesia personal protection equipment, disinfection, backpack sprayers, and other instruments to help on the ground.

“The Government has made significant biosecurity investments in recent years, this includes $110.9 million in Budget 2022, of which $21.2 million is to boost critical diagnostic, surveillance and investigative capability, and heightened readiness for foot-and-mouth and other high-impact animal diseases,” Damien O’Connor said.

“We do not currently have any flights directly from Bali or elsewhere in Indonesia to New Zealand. Regardless of this, every passenger arrival card is examined and those from countries that have FMD (including Indonesia) are directed to a different process of questioning, baggage search and disinfection. This means that should passengers transit other airports, risks are still addressed.

“Biosecurity New Zealand’s experts are providing me regular advice on the FMD situation overseas and we’ll be flexible in our approach. Trialling the use of sanitising foot mats is an example of that responsiveness.

“We also strongly urge anyone who was in contact with livestock in Indonesia, to stay away from farms and animals in New Zealand for one week.

“We also ask if anyone sees their pigs, goats, alpacas, llamas, cattle, sheep or deer with symptoms including high fever, mouth and feet blisters or erosions and lameness, to call their veterinarian or MPI’s exotic pest and disease hotline (0800 80 99 66).

“We’ll continue to work closely with our Australian counterparts and primary sector partners, and I thank them for their work to raise FMD awareness.

“Our primary sector earned New Zealand a record $52.2 billion this year and is forecast to reach $56.8 billion by 2026. It’s essential that our world class biosecurity systems are continually improving so we can maintain this growth,” Damien O’Connor said.

For more information about FMD and what you can do please visit here and How to declare items when arriving in NZ | NZ Government (mpi.govt.nz).

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