MPI Report 2020

Over the last 12 months I have kept in contact with Murray Dawson of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture (RNZIH).  Murray advised me in early 2019 that MPI had encouraged him to submit an application to The Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures Fund, for the project Proof of Presence in NZ, listing cultivated plants in the country before 1996 when the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) came into force.

In October 2019 Murray was pleased to announce that his application had been successful. The new project is called Taking Stock: Resolving New Zealand’s Cultivated Plants Problem. Orchid Council of NZ expressed an interest in being involved in this project and has been named as a collaborator. See an overview of the project here: Taking-Stock-project-outline

The next step for OCNZ is to work with Murray on deciding which orchid species to submit to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The work we did 2 years ago going through old orchid catalogues to compile a list of species missing from the Plant Biosecurity Index (PBI) has put OCNZ in a good position to provide information for this project.

Murray has stressed to me that they will submit species only where there is very strong evidence of their presence in New Zealand. He has also advised me that although this is an MPI funded project, MPI is not doing this work to make prosecutions.

This work will not automatically update the PBI but it does mean the research will have already been completed and approved by the EPA which will then make the process of having those species added to the PBI more straightforward. Nothing is ever easy or quick when MPI is involved but this is a worthwhile project that will help orchid growers in the future.

Glenys MacRae