Advocacy Matters

Untitled Document

It’s our business to make your business easier. Lobbying for members’ common good through representation to, and liaison with, national and regional government bodies, committees and regulatory and environmental groups.

February 2018

NZPPI to develop plant production biosecurity scheme

New Zealand plant producers will drive development of an industry biosecurity scheme to detect pests and diseases and prevent their spread.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has commissioned the New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated (NZPPI) to lead development of the scheme, placing plant producers at the forefront of New Zealand’s biosecurity efforts.

Over the next six months, NZPPI will work with industry, MPI and other stakeholders to design a plant production biosecurity standard and manual. This consultative process will determine key considerations such as how the scheme will run and how to upskill industry.

... read more

April 2016

Key industry pelleted seed import restrictions eased and/or deferred

Earlier this month we emailed to inform industry that following the latest velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti) incursion, MPI instigated emergency measures relating to the importation of pelleted seed. These required testing of all pelleted seed batches, at the importer's cost and adding to significant delays in the importation process.

Our work, with others, has resulted in MPI categorising the risk of weed seeds in imported seed consignments into three groups based on the likelihood of introduction and the ability for surveillance of planted seeds to prevent weed establishment in New Zealand.

The majority of flower and some vegetable crops have been included in the lowest risk group while some other vegetable seeds are included in the intermediate group. Import restrictions are deferred for the first group and eased for the second ... read more

This is an important outcome for industry and our advocacy following MPI’s reaction to the discovery of velvetleaf in fodder beet crops, identified as having come from contaminated seed. A huge thanks to those of you who supplied data on their seed imports. It helped identify which seed species fell into which risk group, and facilitated MPI's ability to respond to our representation.

Plant imports and visit to MPI's plant health lab

GERMAC met mid-March and began development of its work plan for the next year or so. Matters we wish to impact include building the profile of the contribution plant imports make to the economy (the value proposition of new germplasm), how MPI can improve the way that it handles emerging risks that impact on Import Health Standards (IHS), rationale review and policy development pertaining to IHS’s and other parts of the import pathway, a refined approach to tissue culture import and the capacity of Level 3 quarantine facilities.

... read more

A visit to Wanganui Prison

Several industry members met with Corrections and prison staff late in March. A good deal of the day was spent exploring both historical and current issues about prison nursery production, its current and future impact on industry, and the path ahead.

... read more

Auckland Regional Pest Management Plan Review

Auckland Council is undertaking a review of its regional pest management and sought public and stakeholder submissions on priority pests (plants included) late in 2015.  NGINZ met with Council biosecurity staff late in March to discuss plant submissions and provide an industry perspective and flag possible implications. If you’ve matters for us to consider in future discussions, let John Liddle know -

... read more

New OPC Insecticide Rules

Five agrochemicals compounds have been reassessed and rules for their use have been revised. Off-label use is now prohibited for four of these: acephate, diazinon, fenamiphos and methamidophos.

... They join other OPC’s subject to new rules, read about them here


A very serious Wellington hospitalisation with an arduous recovery period received media attention mid-February. This serves to remind all of the serious nature of this issue and we advise constant vigilance in your own health and safety plans and, if you are in retail, that you work with your customers to assist their keeping themselves safe while gardening.

... read more


March 2016

EPA and related Biocontrol activity

This month NGINZ lodged submissions or provide feedback on:

  • An application to release a moth and leaf beetle as biological control agents for the weed tutsan. While supportive in that no direct impact is foreseen for nursery production or home garden ornaments, we made note of possible spill-over effects into native hypericums.
  • Further EPA scrutiny on a set of organophosphates.
  • The introduction of weevil to control Field Horsetail – which we supported.
  • The release from containment of a parasitoid wasp to control of the tomato potato psyllid - which we supported.

Additionally Landcare have sought our review of work (from an off-target host range testing point of view) on biocontrol options for Gaint Reed.

Auckland Regional Pest Management Plan Review

Auckland Council’s Regional Pest Management Plan is under review and we meet with their biosecurity personnel on 31 March to discuss the results from their pre-Christmas public submission period. If you’ve matters for us to consider in these discussions, let John Liddle know -

... read more


February 2016

A Visit to Whanganui Prison – 22 March 2015

NGINZ and interested growers will join Corrections staff at Whanganui Prison in March. In addition to visiting the nursery site and getting a better understanding of their nursery production parameters, matters we will discuss may include,

  • Whanganui Prison production parameters
  • Corrections training programmes, outputs and progression toward private sector employment post-release
  • Links between prisons and the local nursery community, at least in part so the latter might support Corrections employment programmes
  • Discussions on community horticulture projects associated with Whanganui Prison

Visitors need to register with Corrections in advance of the meeting. If you’d like to join us, please let Frances Palmer know by 15 March,

... read more

Biocontrol Agent Application to EPA

The EPA has received an application from Horticulture New Zealand to release from containment the psyllid parasitoid Tamarixia triozae into New Zealand to assist with the biological control of the tomato potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli). NGINZ is assessing the impact on the garden and nursery industry and is preparing a submission to the EPA. If there are matters that industry members would like NGINZ to consider let John Liddle know please by 15 March,

... read more


December 2015

PVR Law Reform

NGINZ’s been working with the Grain and Seed Industry, cut flower and fruit tree producers and others to advocate for the adoption of UPOV91 and other long-overdue PVR law updates. In August we formed a Steering Group and engaged Franks Ogilvy to assist. The latter’s assistance has been invaluable – in particular in collating the exemplary components from the PVR legislation from other jurisdictions who have had experience of UPOV91 over a 23 year period. Legislative and other issues have been identified and last week the group met with Commerce Minister Hon Craig Foss and MBIE officials to seek their guidance, ascertain their interests and inform them of our work.

As always, industry members and the representatives of industry organisations around the table give freely of their time. But, and frankly (no pun intended) Franks Ogilvy’s invaluable time and expertise comes at some cost, and NGINZ, reasonably, is expected to meet it share.

To that end, NGINZ seeks contributions from those who will potentially benefit from a “fit for purpose” outcome. I implore those reliant upon PVR - breeders, agents and licensees - to please consider contributing financially to this work, and contact John Liddle ,

... read the full story here

Nursery RMA and Building Consent Issues

Early in December we met with Horticulture NZ, growers and greenhouse manufacturers to discuss their experiences with the RMA and building consent issues. Fire engineering, building classifications, water and nutrient runoff and discharge, the variation among regions, development contributions, district plan review processes, the similarity of issues among all horticultural producers, compliance costs and delays … were among matters raised and we’re now working on a plan of attack. If you have RMA and/or consent experience that just does not make sense or limited your ability to get the job done (on time) please contact John Liddle,

... more here



November 2015

NPPA Decision Deferred

At it's meeting early in October the NPPA Steering Group determined that it was appropriate to defer its decision on the four species that required further research following the 2012 pest list review. These four species are:

  • Banksia integrifolia - Coast banksia
  • Cornus capitata - Strawberry dogwood
  • Jasminum polyanthum - Jasmine
  • Rhaphiolepis umbellata - Sexton’s bride, Indian hawthorn, Yeddow hawthorn

The Steering Group felt that is still did not have sufficient information. In addition feedback following the 2012 review process highlighted the need to examine NPPA processes and procedures in advance of the 2017 species list review. Consideration of these four species would benefit from the improvements that would arise from the process examination, now scheduled for next year. More details here.

Nursery Industry, RMA and Consent Issues

At some recent time or another there's a good chance you've experienced the rigours of the Resource Management Act and/or the Building Code and their associated consenting processes.  If you have, it's possibly been quite a battle, and we need to hear of your experiences please.  We're working with Horticulture NZ and other horticulture sectors to advocate for improved and more appropriate horticulture sector requirements and process.  To date we heard of issues with fire regulations, water and nutrient discharge, costs, time delays, requirements that defy “common sense”, contradictory advice, development contributions and variations among regions.  We need more stories ... please send these to John Liddle,

... and NGINZ and HortNZ will host a meeting to discuss the RMA, building code and compliance issues impacting horticulture industry businesses, and from NGINZ’s perspective, greenhouses and other nursery infrastructure
Industry Forum
RMA, the Building Code and Greenhouse and Horticulture Infrastructure
9:30am to 12noon, Wednesday 9 December 2015
Holiday Inn, 2 Ascot Rd, Mangere, Auckland Airport

Discussions with nurseries to date confirm a number of issues – in particular regarding fire regulations, water and nutrient discharge, costs, time delays, requirements that defy “common sense”, contradictory advice, development contribution and variations among regions. The meeting will further flesh out issues and a plan of action to advocate for improvements. 

Feedback and questions to John Liddle,  


Auckland Council Regional Pest Review

Auckland Council has released a discussion document in advance of a 2016 review of their Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP). Much has changed since the inception (2007) of their current RPMP - changes in the environment, pest threats in New Zealand and Auckland, climate change and national Biosecurity Act reforms.

Matters up for discussion include Bangalow palm and management options for a number of other plants identified as pests in Auckland. The discussion documents are on their website, and they seek feedback prior to 27 November. NGINZ will be reviewing the documents and would also appreciate your feedback – send this to John Liddle,



Revised Standard for Post Entry Quarantine Facilities for Plants open for public consultation

This week MPI advised that the revised Standard for Post Entry Quarantine Facilities for Plants is now open for public consultation. The revised standard and associated documentation can be viewed here. The consultation period runs through to 27 November and there will be two public meetings where the revised Standard and guidance will be discussed

  • Christchurch - 5 November, 10:30am to 1pm
    Ministry for Primary Industries, 14 Sir William Pickering Drive.
  • Auckland - 11 November, 10:30am to 1pm
    Novotel Hotel, Ray Emery Drive, Auckland International Airport.

If you plan to attend one of the meetings, please RSVP to MPI directly - The review has been undertaken by MPI with the assistance of a governance group comprising Malcolm Woolmore, Kerry Sixtus, Peter Taylor, Alison Duffy and John Liddle representing industry and PEQ users alongside MPI personnel.  If you've an interest in new plants and plant importation we strongly urge you to review the revised Standard, attend one of the meetings and make a submission representing your interests. NGINZ welcomes feedback on the revised Standard - please send it to John Liddle,


Changes to retailing on Easter Sunday

In August Government announced proposals to enable local communities, through councils, to decide whether retailers can open on Easter Sunday. Garden centres currently have that right and the Act's amendements, introduced to Parilament late in October, retain that right - Clause 4A in the original Act - "Garden centres may remain open on Easter Sunday" is retained. If you have an interst in this issue, send your thoughts through to John Liddle and/or make a submission to your MP or the Select Committee in due course.



October 2015

Post Entry Quarantine (PEQ) Facility Standard Review

The PEQ Review project Board (comprising industry and MPI members) met early in October and signed-off on the revised draft standard and consultation papers.  The Board’s view is that the draft Standards takes due cognisance the biosecurity risks associated with plant imports (recognised as a high risk pathway) without being overly onerous on PEQ operators.  However, MPI now needs to hear from those at the "coalface". The draft Standard awaits MPI signoff before being released for public consultation, tentatively public consultation dates are from 25 September to 27 November. Two public meetings are planned, tentatively 5 November in Christchurch and 11 November in Auckland. We will make copies of the draft standard available once it is ready for release.

Nursery Industry, RMA and Consent Issues

Following reports of horrendous processes for resource and building consents on several nursery developments – sheds, greenhouses and development contributions for example, we’ve a meeting with Horticulture New Zealand early in November to discuss a collaborative approach to improving such processes.  A while ago HortNZ told me they spend some 40% of their resource in this space and are well versed in the nuances of the RMA.  If you have RMA and/or consent experience that just does not make sense or limited your ability to get the job done (on time) please contact John Liddle –  

Changes to retailing on Easter Sunday

In August Government announced proposals to enable local communities, through councils, to decide whether retailers can open on Easter Sunday.  Garden centres currently have that right and we’ve sought advice from MBIE as to the proposal's possible impact on garden centres.   Our understanding is that the status quo will be retained for garden retail.  However some issues on the “margin” will likely change, for example the “law change will give workers the opportunity to decline to work or accept work if they wish to on that day – with no reason necessary.” A Bill is expected to be introduced to Parliament at the end of October and those interested should keep an eye on the Parliamentary website – we will too.

Ornamental Plant Import Pathways

We’ve begun discussions with MPI on the processes for developing import health standards and the associated biosecurity risk analysis.  Species cannot be imported until these are complete and for many ornamental species they either do not exist or are outdated.  These species then compete with “high value” food crops for MPI resource, and by the very nature of the export values associated with the latter, ornamentals struggle to get a look in.  It is clear that a combination of collective industry action, the aggregation of needs, industry prioritisation among species and a focus on lower risk pathways (example tissue culture) will boost the resource case for ornamentals.  If you depend upon access to new and imported ornamental species please contact John Liddle -

National Pest Plant Accord (NPPA)

The NPPA Steering group met early October and began discussions preparing for the 2017 review of the NPPA plant list.  A meeting to shape the Steering Group’s approach is scheduled for late February.  If you have matters for the group to consider, please let John Liddle know –

Review of Nursery Qualifications

The TROQ (Targeted review of Qualifications) hit another milestone last month.  This Government mandated process has already reduced the hundred and something horticulture certificate and diploma qualifications to around thirty and the broad shape of nursery-related qualifications has been defined  Now the details of horticulture programmes are being worked through and we’ve met and worked with the Primary ITO (PrITO) in this regard.  The drafts will shortly be available to the PrITO’s Nursery Production Industry partnership group for review.   If you’d like to know more please contact John Liddle know –

PVR Law Reform

With the signing of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) comes an obligation for the Government to review the Plant Variety Rights system, and specifically to align New Zealand intellectual property practice with the UPOV91 convention.  Several plant based industries; grain and seed, nursery, flower growers and production horticulture began work in this regard some time ago, and recently met to review their approach to PVR Law reform.  The meeting considered existing New Zealand law (based upon UPOV78), that apply in overseas jurisdictions and the opportunities available to plant breeders.  If you have experiences that we need to consider and account for, please let John Liddle know –

First Principles Review of MPI’s Cost Recovery Arrangements

Changes within MPI in recent years have left it with a plethora of cost recovery and service charging mechanisms.  They are preparing for a review to harmonise systems and provide a more consistent approach across the spectrum of services.    We need industry input please on issues and circumstances that we need to consider in our submissions to MPI in this regard – send them to let John Liddle –

Dichlorvos Use To Be Restricted

The Environmental Protection Authority has confirmed commercial use of dichlorvos will be restricted – but not removed. Approval has been retained for the active ingredient dichlorvos and three dichlorvos-containing substances, with significant restrictions. Those restrictions for commercial use will be phased in over the next five years. The first set of restrictions will come into effect on 15 March 2016. Read the final decision document here.

From the Regulators

EPA’s October Hazardous Substances Update notes that all businesses must have copies of Safety Data Sheets available for each hazardous substance that is present in excess of the relevant threshold quantity and refers people to the Worksafe website

Priv-o-matic – a tool to help build privacy statements
Business and the Privacy Commission have asked us to let industry members know of this tool that will be particularly useful for SMEs who need to write privacy statements.


September 2015

Industry & Corrections Meeting

Around twenty nurseries met with Corrections officials late in August. Discussions centered on Corrections rehabilitation and offender employment objectives and the impact these have on the nursery industry through the nurseries Corrections operate. It is clear that a path whereby industry supports Corrections objectives while mitigating the impact on industry businesses is needed and indeed achievable. An action plan is being developed following her meeting. Meeting minutes are available on our website –

NGINZ is in the process of developing a position paper on its approach to and working with Corrections in their rehabilitation objectives.  The draft paper will be considered at the 30 September NGINZ Board meeting and is available to read here

Corrections Site Visits
A number of growers visited Rolleston and Christchurch Men’s prisons late in August and visits are being planned to Tongariro, Whanganui, Rimutuka, Milton and Waikaria. If you’d like to join us, contact John Liddle, If you’d like to join NGINZ’s Corrections special interest group email John Liddle.

Growing media packaging legionella health warning panel

This month NGINZ and a manufacturers working group completed its recommendations for a revised health warning panel on packaged composts and potting mixes … indeed all growing media. The NGINZ Health Warning Panel on Packaged Media text and its terms of use can be viewed here

PEQ Standard Review

The process to review the design, construction and operation of post-entry quarantine houses is nearing the public consultation phase. The Review Board, which includes NGINZ and industry representatives, meets early in October to review final drafts and tentative public consultation dates are from 25 September to 27 November. Two public meetings are planned, tentatively 5 November on Christchurch and 11 November in Auckland. More details as things firm up.


August 2015

Corrections Advocacy

Wellington on a Plate
This week CEO, John Liddle was privileged to attend Rimutuka Prison’s "Wellington on a Plate" Dinner. Tutored by Martin Bosley, and now in its third year, the catering training unit men produced a meal that would befit the menu of the finest of restaurants.

In a pre-dinner presentation, Corrections CEO, Ray Smith pressed home the importance of their objective to reduce reoffending by 25% by 2017. They have 42,000 people in their system, of which 9,000 are in prisons. Most disturbingly, 23,000 children have at least one parent in prison, and these children are seven times more likely to offend than others!

Significantly for NGINZ, was the two or three minutes John Liddle got one on one with Corrections Minister, Sam Lotu-Iiga. Having exchanged pleasantries, John noted the work that NGINZ is currently doing with Corrections and their nurseries, and our meeting next week with Corrections officials.

... read more

Legionnaire’s Disease

Spring’s a time associated with an increased incidence of Legionnaire’s Disease and at least one strain Legionella longbeachae, is associated with gardening. It is widespread and present in soil, and in particular composts and potting mixes, whether home-made or manufactured. Each year a number of people contract this form of Legionnaire’s Disease. While most experience no more than mild flu-like symptoms, some become seriously ill. Tragically it can be fatal.

It’s important to appreciate that legionella bacteria are naturally occurring and common in the environment. Under certain conditions, populations flare and the risk of people contracting the disease increases. The Ministry of Health regards gardening as a beneficial pastime (as do we), and has issuedguidelines towards safer gardening.

Our approach, and regarded as appropriate by health authorities, is fourfold:

  1. Reminding members of their health and safety responsibility for staff and customers, both nurseries and retailers
  2. Ensuring warning labels are on bags of packaged media. While its voluntary, our advice is do not stock it unless it’s got the health and caution warning.
  3. Work to ensure retailer’s staff are up to speed - they need to be able to reasonably react to consumer safety concerns.
  4. Publicity to home gardeners on safety steps they can take. This includes in-store information.

Our Member Advisory provides further insight into this approach and a Consumer Brief is also available for download for you to distribute to customers.

While we will have more details on this year’s retailer programme shortly, key steps for retailers include staff awareness, having masks for sale at POS and growing media display areas, and signage and ensuring customers are aware of the risks.

Gardening is a safe and healthy pastime, but there are some risks. We all need to be proactive about understanding and managing those risks.

... read more

PVR Act Reform

Industry groups and individuals interested in plant variety rights met in Wellington this week. The advantages that the adoption of UPOV91 would bring were discussed and a working group formed. If you are interested in plant variety rights, email John Liddle to be added to our IP interest group. 


July 2015

PVR Act 1987 Reform

There are changes afoot for the PVR system and the NZ Grain & Seed Trade (NZGSTA) have convened a meeting of interested sector stakeholders to consider some of the issues. This meeting is open to all who have an interest in plant intellectual property and will be facilitated by Stephen Franks, the principal of Franks Ogilvie, a Wellington-based firm.

PVR Act 1987 Reform Meeting  Wednesday 19 August 2015 
10am to 12noon Morrison Room,
The Wellington Club, L4, 88 The Terrace, Wellington. 
RSVP to both John Liddle of NGINZ, and 
Thomas Chin of NZGSTA,

... read more

Auckland Airport Plant Import Clearance Changes

Recently two members experienced undue delays in clearing plant imports through MPI’s Auckland airport inspections. Paperwork and treatments were in order and their experience highlighted processing changes that we and importers were not aware of. MPI have responded with this information.

... read more

Legionella and Warning Labels on Packaged Media

A Working Group of media manufacturers is currently considering draft changes to the recommended warning label on packaged media. We hope to have the final draft available for wider consideration later this month with a view to it being adopted early in spring. If you’d like to know more, contact John Liddle,

We’re also preparing for spring with a rerun of posters for retail display. More on this next newsletter. Find out more about NGINZ’s legionella guidance on our website –

Amended Import Health Standards

Two IHS have been amended and are available on the MPI website.

Suspension of the import health standards for Myrtaceae cut flowers & foliage from Australia

On Friday 17 July, MPI suspended the import health standards for Myrtaceae cut flowers and foliage from Australia. This means that importation of some species of cut flowers and foliage from Australia will no longer be possible. This suspension is due to a significant change in the distribution of myrtle rust in Australia.

... read more


June 2015


In late May, CEO John Liddle, was interviewed by Fair Go.  They discussed industry and Association work to increase public awareness of the risks posed by Legionnaires'disease.  The interview will feature in the Fair Go episode on 3 June and it's timely to strongly recommend that nurseries and retailers review their occupational health programmes for Legionnairesdisease and that retailers ensure they have good signage and that staff are aware of how to handle customer inquiries. NGINZ guidance is on our website –

Important Agrichemical changes for Nurseries and Retailers

The approval for plant protection insecticides containing organophosphates or carbamates was modified in 2013 under the hazardous substances and new organisms legislation (HSNO). As a result of the reassessment, new rules take effect on 1 July 2015.

Organophosphates and carbamates (OPCs) are the active ingredients in some commonly used insecticides. They can be used to control a wide range of horticultural pests, but are toxic to people and the environment. Nursery use of many OPCs will be subject to new controls governing personal protection equipment, re-entry periods, and rates of application and frequency of use.

Home garden use is effectively phased out – use and handling of OPCs now require Approved Handler status and several home garden sprays will be affected, among them; Gild, Shield, Orthene, Target, Maldison and Diazinon. Some OPCs will be completely withdrawn from use in 2023, while Diazinon will be withdrawn in 2028.

There are a series of fact sheets for users of OPC based insecticides.  These explain the rationale for the changes and new regulations and user responsibilities which will apply from 1 July 2015.  The fact sheets can be viewed

The EPA has also prepared an electronic document providing guidance on the new requirements for labels, safety data sheets and packaging for OPC based insecticides. You can view this document

Well done the beagles!

MPI recently apprehended a NZ resident returning from Poland with plants and seed concealed in his underwear.  They were detected by sniffer dogs, and MPI is pursuing smuggling charges. NGINZ is wholly supportive of MPI’s zero tolerance approach to plant smuggling; it’s a threat to our industry as it is to all horticultural production and exports.

Spiked awl snail

Late in 2014 we advised industry of exotic pest detection (Spiked awl snail) in a heated greenhouse in Auckland.  MPI instigated an investigation and have recently advised that a mid-March a population assessment survey was carried out and no live snails were found. A number of shells were located but also confirmed as being dead. Molluscicides are continuing to be used in the vicinity of the original detection, and further surveys are planned ... read more
Reminder - If you find a pest or disease that you are not familiar with, call MPIs Exotic Pest and Disease hotline 0800 80 99 66.

From the Primary ITO

Feedback Process

The PrITO often hears anecdotal stories that training and / or service isn’t as good as expected, that moderation or assessment isn’t consistent, that graduates are not up to level anticipated etc.  To enable them to investigate and fix any issues, they need real examples.  If you come across anything that doesn’t look / sound / feel quite right, they need to know.  Please encourage people who have a negative experience to let them know.  To leave feedback use their website –

NGINZ is a member of the PrITO Nursery Production Industry Partnership Group, we can also help with any issues … contact John Liddle,

April 2015

Post Entry Quarantine Standard

Work on the PEQ Standard (for the construction and management of post entry quarantine facilities) advanced in March with the review Board providing comment on a draft operating manual.  The Standard review is a major overhaul, the first since 1999, and serves to ensure PEQ facilities are better equipped to manage the risks posed by the importation of live plants. The review Board comprises industry and MPI representatives and has worked with MPI staff on the development of the new Standard which is expected to be available for public consultation in the mid-year.

A new Biocontrol application

Hawkes Bay Regional Council recently applied to the EPA for the release of the honeysuckle stem-boring beetle, Oberea shirahatai, as part of a biological control programme against the weed Japanese honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica.  Japanese honeysuckle is a weed of concern throughout New Zealand, particularly in the North Island. It is designated as an A-category invasive weed by DOC and is spreading rapidly into public conservation land. 

NGINZ is supportive of the application and we are satisfied that the application takes sufficient account of risks to off-target hosts.
NGINZ recognises the benefits of biological control agents for pest plants and works with agencies during the development phases of their applications.  Much of the work is undertaken by Landcare and there is much to read on their website

National Pest Plant Accord (NPPA)

The 2012 NPPA pest list review flagged four species that warranted further research. 

  • Banksia integrifolia - Coast banksia
  • Cornus capitata - Strawberry dogwood
  • Jasminum polyanthum - Jasmine
  • Rhaphiolepis umbellata - Sexton’s bride, Indian hawthorn, Yeddow hawthorn

Early this year, the Steering Group determined that these species represent significant invasive risk and meet the criteria for adding to the NPPA list – meaning that they cannot be propagated or sold.

Prior to a final determination however, the Steering Group seeks feedback from industry, and interested parties are asked to send their views to the NPPA coordinator – nppa@mpi, by 31 July 2015.  An NPPA information sheet provides background to the decisions and these four species.


March 2015

The HSNO Act and the Plants Biosecurity Index (PBI)

The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act’s (HSNO) impact on the nursery and garden industry has long been discussed with some angst.  The PBI (a list of plant species recognised as having been present in New Zealand on 29 July 1997) is a major target of that angst, in that many argue the list is incomplete; many plants present in New Zealand in 1997 did not make the lists. 
Discussions last month among the EPA, MPI, industry and Murray Dawson of the RNZIH Plant Collection Register and plant names digitisation projects, established a pathway for many of these plants to be formally considered by the EPA.  It’s a big step forward, not necessarily a short one, but one that will be significant for the industry and plant collectors and enthusiasts … our thanks to all those involved.

Not so quickly resolved is the time it will take MPI to undertake the development of Import Health Standards (IHS) so that any of the plants species identified above may be imported.  MPI’s work plan is severely constrained by available resources and the development of an IHS (and associated risk analysis) is measured in years!

Plant Imports

Several steps to improve the plant import and post entry quarantine (PEQ) process were identified at a meeting between MPI and industry in February and will feature in work in forthcoming months.

  1. New chemistry and changed hazardous regulations have rendered several pesticides obsolete and we will work with MPI to identify pesticides used in industry that may prove useful substitutes for those currently specified in Import Health Standards.
  2. The tissue culture import pathway is widely considered to provide lower risk than that of rooted plants (though not without some risk).  However Import Health Standards (IHS) are country specific; risks associated with a particular species depend upon where it is imported from and the pests in that country of origin.  This impacts upon ”high health” tissue culture that may originate in say Holland, but is bulked up in tissue labs in another country (often with a lower labour cost).  Holland may be recognised by the IHS, the other country might not be.  We will initiate work among MPI and industry to identify important tissue culture pathways with a view to improving access to tissue from these production laboratories. 
  3. Delays as plants “cross the border” were discussed, especially those cases where some problem with the “paperwork” or phytosanitary conditions contribute to holdups.  MPI’s recommended that contact is made with Wellington’s MPI Imports Team or your PEQ Inspector early in the discussion. NGINZ can help too, give John Liddle a call and we’ll help you work through things with MPI.
  4. Frequent changes (owing to newly identified or changes risks among any one of the hundreds of plants species covered) to the Nursery Stock Import Health Standard has made the “hard copy” edition obsolete.  That on the MPI website is the only reliable source. MPI will review its “ease of use”, noting that this is the most complex IHS that they administer!

The rate of new IHS development (or the revision of an existing IHS) was discussed, and while no silver bullet was found, cooperation among industry on the most important species or schedules was noted as a way to increase the priorities assessment and hence advance the work.

Attendees have commented that the opportunity to meet, visit some nurseries and discuss matters face to face was important and useful; thanks to all who contributed.

Nursery Biosecurity Scheme

February’s stakeholders meeting secured interest from attending parties – MPI, DOC, regional councils, Horticulture NZ, kiwifruit, summer fruit, pip fruit, forestry …  A charter and requests for proposal development will now be developed.

To recap, we’ve proposed a comprehensive nursery production biosecurity scheme and standard that is fit for purpose across the primary sector and meets the needs of various regulators.  The intent is to simplify nursery quality assurance and regulatory requirements through a national certification scheme that is widely recognised and provides a mechanism for nurseries to manage biosecurity risk and demonstrate proficiency in the same. 


February 2015

The HSNO Act and the Plants Biosecurity Index (PBI)

On 26 February NGINZ will host a meeting with MPI and EPA so that all parties might better understand how the HSNO Act and the PBI work and the impact that each has on the nursery and garden industry.  Many see the Act and the PBI as a major impediment to the importation of new plant species, limiting innovation and industry development opportunities.  Further the PBI is regarded a far from complete and the meeting will discuss how the many plants that are not present on the Index might be included and how industry, MPI and EPA would facilitate this. 

Discussion will include the importance of new germplasm (plants) to the nursery and garden industry, the limitations that the Act and the PBI impose and explore the opportunities for an improved approach.

If you have concerns or experience that we need to discuss, please advise John Liddle – This meeting is a part of a series NGINZ has initiated with regulators in order to grow a better understanding of our respective needs and the opportunities afforded through forging stronger working relationships to our mutual benefit.

NGINZ & MPI Plant Imports and Exports Team Meeting

Late in 2014 NGINZ hosted a meeting and nursery visits for MPI’s pest incursion response and GIA teams.  We were able to demonstrate the breadth and nature of the retail supply chain and speed of product movement through it; a critical part of any plan to prepare for a pest incursion affecting our industry, or one where plant movements impact another’s preparedness.

On 27 February we undertake similar discussion with MPI’s Plant Imports and Exports Team.  Its objectives include

  • Improve MPI understanding of the nursery industry (and vice versa, with a focus on understanding the industries view on key import and export issues)
  • Share knowledge on how the importation and export pathways work with NGINZ and nurseries.
  • Provide a forum where industry/nursery issues and concerns can be discussed (recognising some will need further dialogue)
  • Improve working relationship between MPI Plant Imports and Exports staff and the nursery industry

The meeting discussion will include industry’s experience with and ease of the import and export system and the importance of new plants.   If you have matters that we need to raise, please advise John Liddle –

Government Industry Agreements update

GIA’s pace is quickening with two more industries signing the GIA Deed with Government in the last six week – pip fruit and equine.  They join kiwifruit and the pork industry as GIA partners with Government.   Several others are preparing their applications and or seeking mandate from their members.

GIA and the Nursery Industry

NGINZ’s recommendation that we join GIA is part of our Towards 2025 proposal and our considerations are outlined in Section 4 of our Towards 2025 papers – read it here  Essentially we believe that it is vital that we work closely with others to enhance New Zealand’s biosecurity system, protect and advance the interests of the nursery sector and maintain (and indeed further grow) our influence and partnership in the primary sector. 

On the other hand, if we opt to do nothing, it will inevitably lead to gradual “fade” in our relationships with MPI and other horticulture sectors, and our industry voice will be side-lined and our relevance diminished. We will have decreasing influence over regulatory measures, some of which will reduce our freedom to move plants.

GIA, the Nursery Industry and the Primary Sector

In December we discussed our GIA considerations with Horticulture New Zealand’s Industry Forum and its 22 product groups.  This meeting provided an opportunity for us to provide an update to these industry partners as they and we consider how GIA will affect the primary sector – and importantly how we will impact upon each other as we work to prepare for and mitigate the impact of a pest incursion.

Our interaction with several primary sector groups (pip fruit, forestry, kiwifruit, summer fruit, avocado and wine grapes) will be further discussed in a series of meetings during the last two weeks of February and include nurseries who supply these industries.  The nurseries who supply forestry and these orchards often work closely with these sector bodies and it is important to better understand their needs and optimum fit in context of Greenlife Double and the formulation of our levy and GIA scopes.   We’ve contacted many of these nurseries directly, but if you’re a major supplier to any one of these groups, please let us know –

Auckland Council Biosecurity

NGINZ has a strong working relationship with Auckland Council Biosecurity and in February we meet to discuss the latter’s revision of what used to be known as their Regional Pest Management Strategy.   It defines Council’s priorities and goals regarding control of animal and pest plants across the Auckland region, and the Council has been proactive in seeking industry input into the scope and impact of their work.

Nursery Biosecurity Scheme

Over the past year we’ve been approached by and undertaken discussion with several bodies about a comprehensive nursery production biosecurity scheme and standard that is fit for purpose across the primary sector and meets the needs of various regulators.  The intent is to simplify nursery quality assurance and regulatory requirements through a national certification scheme that is widely recognised and providing a mechanism for nurseries to manage biosecurity risk and demonstrate proficiency in the same. 

Several horticultural sectors have their own standards – NZ Wine’s Grafted Grapevine Standard, Avocado NZ’s High Health Scheme and Kiwifruit’s Plant Certification Scheme.  Other bodies seek a comprehensive risk management tool – the Kauri Dieback Management Team for example.

It is our plan to establish a core standard that might apply to all nurseries irrespective of the needs of the sector they supply.  Specific sector needs would then form addenda to the core standard.

A meeting with key stakeholder’s mid-February will establish a project to advance the scheme.

Package Growing Media and the Legionella Warning Label

The need to review the recommended warning label for packaged media was highlighted in 2014 and a draft standard is currently being reviewed by working group members.  Their feedback will be coordinated at the end of February and made available to interested parties for their feedback.  If you’d like to be kept informed, please advise Frances Palmer –

Pest Alert – Spiked Awl Snail

In December we advised of an issue involving the detection of the Spiked Awl Snail (Allopeas clavulinum) in a heated glasshouse in Auckland. With the holiday season, tracing forward has been slowed, but there is now only one location which has not yet confirmed the presence or absence of the spiked awl snail. All other sites have come up negative and MPI are currently looking at the one known population in Auckland.

Once the population has been delimited, intentions are for the eradication of this snail at the known location (or locations).
If you see something looking like the image here, call MPI’s Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline 0800 80 99 66.


December 2014

Strangled by Building & Property Red Tape?

Government's established a Rules Reduction Taskforce to give advice about which housing and property rules should be fixed, and which are unnecessary and should be removed. The taskforce needs to know which rules you find frustrating.  Do so here:
Copy us in too please!

An example - greenhouses do not align well with new fire regulations.  Such structures have low occupancy rates and a low fire loading, but they are typically large.  The latter demands considerable fire mitigation infrastructure, not easily or even reasonably installed in greenhouses.   And it's not just nurseries affected by this - protected crop growers, garden centres and farmers (stock shelters) are among those hitting brick walls.  If you've an issue in this regard, please let John Liddle know.

Potato spindle tuber viroid

MPI implemented emergency measures for Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) on imported nursery stock and seed for sowing hosts from 1 September 2014. The changes arose from an increased awareness of PSTVd’s host range and distribution overseas.

Ornamental species affected include major crops argyranthemum, calibrachoa, chrysanthemum, dahlia, diascia and petunia, among other lower volume crops.   MPI are now preparing a Risk Assessment and NGINZ was asked to provide insight into the commercial market for these plants and in part our feedback noted:

These species … are collectively a very large market, some hundreds of thousands of plants being sold annually, especially now that these “colour perennials” are fashionable again.   

Additionally annual petunia make for a very large part of the seedling and bedding plant market – both as packet seed selections sold in garden centres and seed sold to bedding plant nurseries for growing and selling as punnets and potted colour. 

These species are of significant economic value both in terms of sales and the contribution their production provides to employment and the enjoyment gardeners gain from them.  It is an extremely competitive market, and off shore breeding programmes and new cultivars are essential to both satisfy gardeners and provide competitive advantage to the nurseries growing and selling them.   

These are high volume species, produced by nurseries throughout New Zealand and sold through garden retail outlets nationwide.   They are relative easily produced with a short production cycle – a few weeks to a few months.  These species represent one of, if not the, most significant home garden market segments today.

Once the Risk Assessment is completed, the import health standards for nursery stock and seed for sowing will be reviewed, and the proposed import requirements will be made available to NGINZ and relevant stakeholders and trading partners for comment.


GERMACs November meeting focused on actions arising from its Barriers to the Importation of Germplasm report.  Among many issues that limit and impede access to new plant material, two major matters arose for intensive representation and future work with MPI – those of the time it takes and the resource MPI has available to undertake the review or development of Import Health Standards and their precursor Risk Assessments.  These two processes determine whether a species can be imported and the conditions under which they can be imported. 

In October GERMAC industry members met with Martyn Dunne, MPI Director General, and Scott Gallacher, one of MPIs Deputy Directors, and Scott attended the November meeting.  Both committed to work with us, recognising our needs, but also noting resource constraints, the latter being a common issue!   Seeking to influence MPIs resource allocation, GERMAC has asked its Plant and Food Research member to gather data for a business case demonstrating the value that new and imported germplasm bring to the New Zealand economy.

NGINZ hosts MPI Response and GIA teams in the Waikato

In the last week of November we hosted six MPI managers and field staff through visits to several businesses in the Waikato – Daltons, Mitre 10 Cambridge, Anntons and Growing Spectrum.  NGINZ certainly learnt a lot from the discussions, and crucially we were able to demonstrate the breadth and nature of the retail supply chain and speed of product movement through it; a critical part of any plan to prepare for a pest incursion affecting our industry, or one where plant movements impact another’s preparedness.

Mark Bullians of MPI has emailed - All MPI members found the day very beneficial and certainly highlights the speed and integrated nature of the supply chain, and the advantages of being connected with industry when working in biosecurity

A major point of discussion during the visit to Growing Spectrum was appearance of exotic tropical weeds in a batch of imported coconut fibre in 2008.  Growing Spectrum was the first to notice these weeds and was the location of a major incursion response.  Mark Bullians was a member of the MPI response team back then, and it was interesting hearing just how different the process would be today under a GIA partnership approach.  More about this at conference!

Pest Alerts

NGINZ’s been party to two pest alerts from MPI in the last month.

Firstly MPI responded to an alert arising from a home gardener finding a female Yellow Spotted Stink Bug (Erthesina fullo) in Temuka.   Following an extensive survey, no further bugs have been found and on 17 November MPI moved to community based monitoring.  NGINZ was able to assist in this work using our industry database to get response notices out far and wide, something MPI have commented upon.  One nursery in Auckland reported their staff becoming keenly aware of the issue. 

A second and current issue involves the detection of the Spiked Awl Snail (Allopeas clavulinum) in a heated greenhouse in Auckland. We’ve taken a lower key approach to this; the snail is considered to be of low risk and the situation looks as though it is clearly delineated within domain facilities.  We have however, offered MPI our assistance and ask that if you see something looking like the image here, call MPI’s Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline 0800 80 99 66.


November 2014

NPPA Pest List Review

When the National Plant Pest Accord (NPPA) list was reviewed in 2012, the Steering Group (of which NGINZ is a member) flagged several species of concern, but for which it needed more information before a decision is made on whether to add these plants to the NPPA banned plant list. 

A review of these four species was scheduled for 2014:

  • Banksia integrifolia
  • Cornus capitata
  • Jasminum polyanthum
  • Rhaphiolepis umbellata

While later than expected, the process has begun, with MPI preparing risk assessments and the Technical Advisory Group is about to meet.  The Steering Group is scheduled to meet on 26 November and public consultation will follow after that and through to early 2015. 

If you grow any of the above species we need to hear from you.  We need to know

  • How many and to what grade
  • Your sales value
  • Observations you have on
    • How weedy (or not ) they are
    • Whether you have observed them as “garden escapees”, and if so, where
    • Their presence or absence in the natural environment

If you have concerns about these plants, on whichever side of the argument you sit, please gather your thoughts, numbers (and evidence) and send them through to John Liddle by 20 November,

John Liddle, Malcolm Woolmore and Ian Duncalf represent industry on the NPPA Steering Group and welcome your feedback.

EPA Reassessment of dichlorvos and dichlorvos-containing formulations

Dichlorvos is a volatile organophosphate insecticide used to control a wide range of insect pests across the agricultural, horticultural, biosecurity and public health industries, and in domestic settings.  The EPA has concerns about the safety and well-being of people and the environment arising from its use. Significant acute, chronic and systemic health effects on people and non -target organisms in the environment have resulted in regulatory reviews in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. Those reviews have resulted in the prohibition of certain uses of dichlorvos and the introduction of stringent risk mitigation measures. 

NGINZ will be considering the reassessment and seeks member feedback please if dichlorvos is an important part of your crop protection toolbox.  More detail on the EPA reassessment can be found on the EPA website – – search for APP202097.

Rose Import Health Standards

MPI has been reviewing the risks and import requirements associated with Rosa nursery stock over the past few years. As a part of this review, NGINZ and major rose growers have been invited to a pre-consultation meeting (25 November) with MPI to discuss the proposed changes to the import conditions for Rosa nursery stock ahead of the consultation documents being released for public consultation. 

If you have an interest in importing roses, have a knowledge of pests and pathogens which affect roses, or have thoughts about appropriate measures to prevent pests and pathogens entering New Zealand which may harm the NZ rose industry or other horticultural industries then we need to hear from you please.

GIA, the Nursery and Horticultural Sector

NGINZ Board Chair, Andrew Harrison and CEO, John Liddle recently met with Horticulture New Zealand Board Chair, Julian Raine and CEO, Peter Silcock to discuss long term relationships among the nursery and garden industry and the horticulture sector. 

Our biosecurity interests are closely aligned and specifially nursery and horticulture production hygiene and plant movements feature in our discussions.  Our approach to GIA and its interaction with horticulture (read it at 2015) is important and Horticulture New Zealand have agreed to host us at one of their indutry forums speaking with members of their constituent (22) product groups – kiwifruit, pipfruit, avocado, vegetables ...

Julian will also meet with the NGINZ Board on 13 November, providing insight as to how we might partner with horticulture to advance both NGINZ’s potential Greenlife Double objective and Horticulture NZ’s ’$10 billion by 2020’ strategy.

New Biocontrol Agents

NGINZ and Landcare’s biocontrol team meets on a regular basis.  The latter is usually contracted by regional councils to investigate and develop applications to the EPA for the importation and/or release of biocontrol agents for the control of invasive weeds.   NGINZ’s role is to seek assurance of robust consideration of the risks to any unintentional effects for native and/or ornamental flora which are closely related to the target weed species and for which the biocontrol agent may have a liking. 

These are most often mitigated by the specificity of the biocontrol agents feeding habits – one of the cornerstones of the programme.

While working with Landcare during the early development stages, NGINZ reserves the right to support or not any specific application, or part therof, during EPAs consideration.

October’s meeting discussed Landcare work for seven weed species with some issues being identified for landcare followup :

  • Privet (Ligustrum) and the release of the privet lace bug – the project needs to better understand the impact, or not, on ornamental lilac.
  • Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) and the importation of the honeysuckle longhorn beetle – the planned off target host testing for viburnum, weigela and others is robust
  • Moth plant and the release of a moth plant rust – potential impact on tweedia and swan plants needs to be assessed.
  • Lagarasiphon (a freshwater weed)  and the importation of a leaf mining fly - no issues identified for the nursery and garden industry
  • Field horsetail (Equisetum) and the trialing of a root weevil – little impact is envisaged
  • Ginger and the use of a stem-mining fly or ginger weevil - care need to be exercised over potential impact on other Musa and Myoga
  • Old man's beard and the use of a leaf curling mite – potential impact on native and exotic clematis needs to be thoroughly investigated.

If you have an interest in this work check out Landcare’s website -  Talk with John Liddle if any of these specific projects are of concern.

An MPI Nursery Response and Follow up Visit to Waikato

In July NGINZ were advised of a disease alert on some imported Rubus (raspberries) plants that had passed through a member nursery to a commercial grower.  We kept in touch with MPI and the grower and followed the investigation through to its conclusion and MPIs’ close out report – fortunately it was a false alarm. 

The process provided valuable insight into how a biosecurity alert might affect our industry, even the more so as GIA and third party interests in the nursery sector ramp up – hence NGINZ actively working with MPI and other parts of horticulture in relation to GIA, and GIA being a critical component of the Towards 2025 package.

As further follow up we will host people from several MPI incursion investigation and GIA teams visiting a number of members in the Waikato. It will serve to grow MPI’s understanding of the nursery and garden industry, and vice versa. Specifically we seek to

  • Improve MPI’s understanding of the nursery industry (with a focus on understanding the industry’s view on key post border biosecurity risks).
  • Share knowledge on how the investigation/response process works with NGINZ and nurseries.
  • Improve the working relationship between MPI Investigation and Diagnostic Centres & Response Directorate (IDC/R) staff and the nursery industry.

MPI’s Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline
0800 80 99 66

This experience serves as a timely reminder on just how dependent we are on good industry biosecurity practice and prompt reporting. Please call MPI’s Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline if you see anything unusual on any plants – imported recently or not. 


October 2014

PVR Technical Focus Group

MBIE hosted the annual PVR Focus Group meeting in August. It comprises the PVR office and organisations involved in agriculture and horticulture - grain and seed, fruit and nursery, with the purpose of providing a forum for PVR authorities and industry review of PVR matters.

In the last year the PVR Office reports an increase in applications and on average quicker progress through to grant.  It has posted a technical note to its website providing guidance on growing trials for DUS (distinct, uniform and stable) – view it at  Chris Barnaby is developing a paper on another contentious and often misunderstood matter – plant naming, denominations and commercial synonyms.

Plant labelling issues were discussed; specifically that it is an offence under the Act to sell a protected plant without including its denomination being identified or to claim PVR when it is not protected.  These compliance matters are the responsibility of MBIE and we anticipate they will become more active in enforcement.  Of note however, while it is required to include the denomination in any naming, the Act does not require that the fact the plant is protected to be stated.  

Additionally these requirements are not to be confused with the fact that any action against people propagating protected plants without the breeders permission are the subject of legal action by the breeder, not MBIE.  The law does not provide for the latter.

IPONZ’s new web based case management system is of interest to many, and we’re told that things have improved dramatically.  If this is not the case, please let us know.  In part problems with the system are ones of familiarity with a new system, but others have not been as easily rectified (from a user perspective); many components were just not intuitive or readily completed for some aspects of PVR (as compared to other more conventional IP management processes).


NZ PVR law is based upon a UPOV (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants) convention, and we’re still operating under a 1978 convention.  It’s been superseded by a 1991 convention, one that gives breeder far more protection.  Around the world more and more people have adopted UPOV91, Australia for example; but it’s not that simple. Norway is actively campaigning against its adoption! Our progress was interrupted by a Waitangi Tribunal claim for flora and fauna, WAI 262.  The tribunal reported on this some time ago, but government is yet to respond.

In July NGINZ began collaboration with The Grain & Seed Trade Association and cut flower growers to advocate for UPOV91’s adoption.  It will not be a quick job, the consultation and advocacy task list is long and the election has “got in the way”.   It’s also tied up in TPPA negotiations!

GIA Gathering Momentum

The third Government Industry Agreement Biosecurity Forum was held early September.  CEO, John Liddle attended along with around 40 other industry representatives among the 75 attendees.
The forum has two functions;

  • To be the place where all signatories to GIA can share their understanding of biosecurity,
  • And be the means by which all Signatories will work together to enhance the system for all, as opposed to bilateral or multilateral collaboration on organism-specific readiness and response activities that will be achieved through Operational Agreements.

Issues discussed at the forum included:

  • A big picture outline of GIA. Two industries have now signed (kiwifruit and pork) and a number of other groups are expected to sign in the near future.
  • Managing incursion responses under GIA including rapid industry notification.
  • Principles to guide negotiations around cost sharing and fiscal caps.  
  • A briefing from the horticulture industry on its progress developing the Fruit Fly Operational Agreement.
  • A report from Andrew Coleman, the Ministry for Primary Industries Deputy Director, on his department’s current and planned activities across the biosecurity system.
  • Minimum commitments. Kiwifruit Vine Health and Dairy NZ giving a perspective on what minimum biosecurity commitments should be.

Kiwifruit and pork industry bodies have now signed the GIA Deed along with MPI.  Pipfruit New Zealand will sign shortly and a raft of other bodies are preparing to join and/or seeking industry mandate.

NGINZ's consideration of GIA is an important part of our Towards 2025 proposal.  Given nurseries supply plants to all horticultural sectors we impact their Biosecurity, and they in turn potentially affect how we do business.  It's thus important that we're part of GIA.  You can read more at

The next GIA Forum will be held in March 2015.

Ecopanthus Project

This programme will establish protocols for environmentally acceptable agapanthus and thus take the heat out of the “friend or foe” debate, at least for many people and some varieties.  The project is particularly relevant for those that supply the Auckland markets and our work within the NPPA framework.

Low environmental impact varieties will be endorsed for sale by NGINZ and Auckland Council.  The Ecopanthus Working Group met in September.  It comprises Auckland Council Biosecurity, Auckland Regional Gardens, Landcare and NGINZ.  The group reviewed trials over the past two summers and several varieties that meet the developing criteria are obvious; others are still under test.  Trails will continue this summer; if you’ve got a variety you’d like to see under test, let Frances Palmer know please.


Those of you who attended the retail stream at Conference will have heard that Legionnaires’ disease

  • Is the most commonly identified cause of pneumonia for about half the year.
  • Has a seasonal peak in activity in spring/summer more predictable than influenza.
  • One third of cases require Intensive Care Unit admission and 10% die.
  • Approximately 85% of cases are due to Legionella longbeachae.
  • There is a strong association with gardening.

NGINZ’s work in this regard has increased dramatically this year.  Part of it is our work as part of the National Legionella Working Group, which has released details of work underway:

  • Legionella diagnostics. A new PhD student has recently started with Otago Medical School in Christchurch. He will be focusing on Legionella diagnostics, including a major project on breath analysis. One of his other planned projects (in part funded by NGINZ and WasteMINZ) is to rigorously survey compost-related products and soil samples from Christchurch, with the aim of determining the extent of Legionellaisolation from various products.
  • Nationwide Legionnaires’ disease case-finding study (the LegiNZ study).  Funded by the Health Research Council (led by the University of Otago and ESR) this project will use Christchurch developed “PCR” testing technology through all other Health Boards over the forthcoming year.  The very much more definite PCR test has provided insight into the far larger than previously thought impact of Legionella longbeachae, the strain most often associated with gardening.  We suspect the incidence of legionella often associated with Christchurch is not just a Christchurch manifestation; and this study will provide insight.
  • WasteMINZ Compost Legionella Project. A pilot study to assess the prevalence of Legionella in single samples from a variety of compost products using standard commercial laboratory procedures is complete. The findings are useful for planning the design of a more intensive investigation of compost-related products.
  • Legionnaires’ disease case-control study. This study aimed to understand some of the risk factors associated with Legionnaires’ disease by comparing the activities of people who have recently been hospitalised with those of a control group.  In this fashion it is hoped to highlight risk factors for L. longbeachae infection, particularly specific gardening activities.  2014 data is being analysed.

Elsewhere in this newsletter, Frances Palmer provides details of our work to better equip retailers in the role in public awareness, and their own staff health and safety programmes – which are equally important for growers and others too.

Post Entry Quarantine Standard Review

The draft standard will be considered by the review Board (comprising industry, PEQ users and MPI representatives) early in October.  Shortly after this it will be available for public consultation – if you import plants, keep an eye out for emails from MPI and NGINZ seeking your feedback.

Corrections Nurseries

NGINZ has secured Nathan Guy’s (Minister for Primary Industries) agreement to assist in our meeting with the Minister of Corrections to discuss prison nursery policy and implementation concerns.  Once portfolio responsibilities are established, Nathan’s Guy’s officials will work to secure a date that suits both ministers.

Of concern though, is that too date we’ve had no feedback from our August newsletter call for members who are impacted by Corrections nurseries to provide us details. If your business has suffered as result of prison nurseries we need to hear from you – contact John Liddle please. 


The Germplasm Advisory Committee signed off on its “Barriers to importation of plant germplasm” report at its meeting in September.  Foremost among matters of concern is the time taken to complete Import Health Standards (IHS) – the key to ensuring safe and effective access to new plants, or for continued access to species covered in an existing IHS when new offshore risks are identified.  Industry members of GERMAC have requested a meeting with MPI Director General Martyn Dunne.

Weights and Measures Regulation Changes

MBIE’s Trading Standards, responsible for the enforcement of New Zealand’s Weights and Measures legislation have advised recent amendments to the Act and Regulations. 

If you sell products by weight or measure, these changes may affect you – check out, or ask Frances Palmer to email you a copy (  And much more detail from


August 2014

NGINZ Member Priorities

May’s member survey identifies advocacy and representation as NGINZ’s most important deliverable with 74% of respondents reporting it as important or critical.  82% regard NGINZ’s performance as satisfactory, good or very good.   It is, and will continue to be a major Association focus and activity, often linked to various programmes within our capacity scope.

Nursery hygiene

The relationship between our industry and other sectors interested in nursery hygiene and biosecurity risk management has been highlighted in several meetings and discussions.  We’ve been approached by MPIs’ Kauri Dieback management team, Auckland Council and Kiwifruit Vine Health who have all sought input in developing auditable programmes to reduce the risks of nursery stock movements spreading pests and diseases.  Our solution is the Nursery Production FMS and discussions on options continue.


Legionella work continues within the National Legionella Working Group which is exploring several pieces of research and funding options to better understand the science of the bacteria, its growth in the manufacturing process and the public health implications.   We hosted an industry legionella workshop with WasteMINZ and are working on the appropriate labelling on packaged media and a programme to raise awareness at point of sale.  In regards to the latter, Alistair Humphrey (Medical Officer of Health for Canterbury) spoke to retailers at Conference.

Landscape New Zealand

Landscape New Zealand held their conference in Wellington early in July and John Liddle spoke with them of our Towards 2025 proposal.  The main thrust of the presentation was the importance of our partnering with landscapers to grow our mutual interests through the landscape supply chain.   Interestingly, questions after the presentation pertained to the levy mechanisms!

Auckland Council Biosecurity

Our meeting with Auckland Council’s Biosecurity Department included wide ranging discussion on Kauri Dieback risk mitigation, their Regional Pest Management Plan review, their use of the Nursery production FMS, Agapanthus and their research into pests of specific interest in the Auckland region. 

This advocacy & representation page records recent activity, while historical work is linked from the list to the right.

New in October 2014, this page will be built over time as both past and recent work is added to the lists.

Advocacy Initiatives Summary