Submissions closed last week on MPI's proposal to substantially increase fees for diagnostic testing and use of Level 3B post-entry quarantine greenhouses and a new greenhouse booking policy. The changes are to introduced next month.
Full details on the proposed changes are available here.
NZPPI has put in a submission on the proposals along with a number of producer members. The main points in the submissions included:
- Issues with the consultation process: criticism of the delayed release of costing information, the short timeframe for submissions and proposed implementation date of December. Recommendations to delay the increase until July 1, 2024, to align with MPI's legislated changes to fees policy implementation.
- Adverse impact on plant imports, diversity and food security: concern the proposed new pricing will lead to significantly higher operational costs, potentially reducing the volume of plant imports. This reduction is particularly concerning given New Zealand's reliance on imported plant germplasm for maintaining the quality and diversity of its plant life, including food plants.
- Concerns about the potential for increased smuggling attempts due to high prices.
- Recommendations for reasonable pricing adjustments to align only with inflationary costs and retain staged pricing breaks. This approach would recognise the reduced costs associated with multiple subsequent tests and help mitigate the financial burden on importers.
- Need for review and international compliance: there is a call for a review of all import health standards that require onshore diagnostic testing and/or L3B quarantine. The substantial rise in costs necessitates a re-evaluation of these requirements, considering the direct cost impact on importers and the need to align with international legal agreements.
- Collaborative approach and government-industry agreement: A collaborative agreement between the government and industry is needed to determine appropriate price settings and ensure a streamlined import process.
NZPPI' submission is below. We will keep members informed about the response to its submission and next steps by MPI.