Biosecurity and land use the focus for agriculture ministers in Wellington
Minister for Agriculture Tara Moriarty met with the New Zealand Minister for Agriculture Damien O’Connor last week to discuss issues of mutual significance during her trip to Wellington, New Zealand, for the Food Ministers Meeting.
Ms Moriarty said biosecurity was top of the agenda given that both NSW and New Zealand are exposed to the increasing threat of outbreaks from exotic incursions that are rising in volume, complexity, and severity.
“New Zealand is a valued trading partner and I was delighted to meet with the Hon Damien O’Connor to discuss the issues facing our sector across the Tasman,” Ms Moriarty said.
“Biosecurity is the most significant threat to the primary industries sectors in NSW and New Zealand and could significantly impact the safety and sustainability of our food systems and the health of our ecosystems.
“Five of the most significant animal diseases have been detected for the first time in our Oceania region in the past 5 years, so New Zealand are equally concerned with ensuring we are doing all we can to limit the spread of exotic pests and diseases.
“The future value of the primary industries and food sector, including the protection of our international trade reputation and ongoing export market access, is contingent on our capacity to mitigate and manage biosecurity risks.
“During our meeting I was able to thank Minister O’Connor for the assistance offered by the New Zealand primary industries community in helping us form our Varroa mite response plan, which drew heavily on learnings from New Zealand’s response to the introduction of Varroa mite.”
Ms Moriarty said the discussions around the use of agricultural land were also insightful.
“The New Zealand Government is currently in the process of the review and repeal of their Resource Management Act, and they are considering very similar issues to those we are facing in NSW in terms of trying to ensure prime agricultural land is appropriately protected,” Ms Moriarty said.
“Like NSW, New Zealand recognises land use conflict can have a significant impact on the economic and emotional resilience of agricultural producers and their businesses, the communities in which they operate, and on nearby urban communities.
“In NSW, we are currently considering the role and function of the Agriculture Commissioner moving forward to ensure we are providing the best protections for farmland balanced against other competing priorities such as renewable energy and housing.
“The discussions with my NZ counterpart provided another useful perspective on this important issue.”