Ministry for Primary Industries’ Emerging Risks System

Heidy Kikillus 1, Melanie Newfield 1, Christine Reed *1

1 Ministry for Primary Industries

The identification of potential and emerging threats is an important component of the effective management of biosecurity risks.  In response to the introduction of Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa) into New Zealand, an independent review of import requirements and border processes recommended that New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) “renew efforts to centralise the identification and management of emerging risks”.  Implementation of an “Emerging Risks System” (ERS) is a key deliverable of the MPI Management Action Plan that constitutes the response to the review. This project, implemented in August 2012, screens multiple information sources and identifies alerts relevant to New Zealand biosecurity.  These alerts are then assessed by risk analysts and, if necessary, forwarded to Risk Managers within MPI so that appropriate management action can be implemented.  The ERS also monitors the flow and uptake of information, with regular reporting which allows MPI to understand and assess its overall response to new risks. Since its inception, this proactive system has screened over 300 alerts, sent almost 50 alerts to risk analysts for further assessment, identified 13 potential issues to Risk Managers, and, ultimately, has resulted in the amendment of Import Health Standards for several imported commodities.  Although currently operated manually, the Emerging Risks System will be transforming into a more automated system by mid-2013.  

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