Media Release For Immediate Release 05 December 2007
Pork Industry Board welcomes Beekeepers’ win
The Court of Appeal has upheld the Beekeepers’ case that it is unlawful for MAF to allow new organisms across the
border. It affirms that the only body with power to approve the introduction of new organisms to New Zealand is ERMA.
This decision is welcomed by the New Zealand Pork Industry Board which is currently greatly concerned about a MAF
proposal that would knowingly allow the introduction into New Zealand of a new organism, the PRRS (porcine reproductive
and respiratory syndrome) virus in imported pigmeat. New Zealand is one of very few countries free of PRRS, a
devastating pig disease which is recognized as the number one enemy of the pig industry worldwide.
“We fully endorse this decision which we believe emphasizes that a more appropriate level of caution should be applied
to decisions impacting on New Zealand’s biosecurity status” says Chris Trengrove, New Zealand Pork Industry Board
Chairman. “Most unfortunately the PRRS proposal put forward by MAF has been biased by trade considerations – both MAF
and the Minister have said as much. Currently there is no independent review step at any stage in the MAF process and
such a step is definitely needed. Without an independent review step it means that MAF is effectively marking its own
Parliament established ERMA as a specialist body to consider the environmental, health, and safety effects of the
introduction of new organisms. ERMA is required to adopt a precautionary approach and ensure that new organisms are
carefully and cautiously assessed. The Court of Appeal decision means that MAF is not entitled to overlook this
assessment when it recognises new organisms will arrive in imported goods.
Chris Trengrove says that his Board is at a loss to understand MAF. “Why would MAF choose not to protect New Zealand
industries - even smaller ones - when it is entitled to protect New Zealand’s human, animal and plant health status
under WTO rules? The Court of Appeal acknowledged that there was nothing to suggest that requiring new organisms to be
approved by ERMA would breach any international obligation. We sincerely hope this decision has the effect of
reinforcing to MAF the value New Zealand places on its biosecurity status, as enshrined in our legislation”.