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Applying to import into containment

Preparing to make an application

Approved containment facilities

A containment facility is a place approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in accordance with the Biosecurity Act for holding organisms that should not (or not yet) become established in New Zealand. This is a facility constructed in accordance with a MPI construction standard to safely contain invertebrates [] or microorganisms []. In addition to physical security, the facility must be operated according to a Quarantine and Containment Procedures that are negotiated and agreed with MPI Biosecurity. MPI staff regularly audit the quality assurance programme to ensure safe operation of containment facilities.

To reduce risks, the containment procedures contain a framework for developing contingency plans in the event of disease occurrence, inadvertent liberation (within and from the building), fire or any other emergency. It should describe the corrective action if there is an escape of organisms from containment. Action shall be immediately taken to prevent further escape and, if possible, to recover and return to containment the escaped organisms, or to eradicate an escaped population. In most cases however, at the point at which most biological control agents could be detected outside the building, it is likely that they exist at sufficient density, and have dispersed sufficiently that nothing could be done to mitigate the risk of establishment.

Once the EPA approves the release of a biological control agent, the applicant must then apply to MPI for a Permit to Import (contact MPI [] for more information). Under section 39 of the Biosecurity Act, this permit will require the applicant to import the biological control agent into an approved Containment Facility for the purpose of quarantine to eliminate any associated organisms imported unintentionally with the culture. These include companion/passenger species, hyperparasites, parasitoids or detectable pathogens.

In short, an applicant will require access to an approved containment facility at some stage in the introduction process. Contact MPI to obtain a list of approved facilities.