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B3 Conference looks at the future of biosecurity in NZ

Around 150 biosecurity experts gathered at the B3 (Better Border Biosecurity Conference) in Wellington earlier last week to look at the research needed to underpin New Zealand’s future biosecurity system.

The conference aimed to look at New Zealand's future biosecurity challenges such as changing trade and tourism, whilst also reinforcing the importance of science for an effective border biosecurity system.

Around 150 biosecurity experts gathered at the B3 (Better Border Biosecurity Conference) in Wellington last week to look at the research needed to underpin New Zealand’s future biosecurity system.

The conference aimed to look at New Zealand's future biosecurity challenges in an age of increasing and changing trade and tourism, whilst also reinforcing the importance of science for an effective border biosecurity system.

Programme highlights included international keynote speaker Dr Lisa Keith from Hawaii who spoke about Rapid ‘Ohi’a Death - the disease that's killing native Hawaiian trees. Dr Keith discussed how the general public were actively involved in the response. The other key note speaker was Dr Koichi Goka from Japan who gave an insight into how they addressed invasive alien species in Japan.

Jessica Dohmen-Vereijssen, spoke about the Global Eradication and Response Database for the Future (GERDA) – a database which summarises incursion response and eradication programmes from around the world. She also spoke about the GIA and benefits of working in partnership.

From a GIA perspective, a highlight was the signing of the Fruit Fly Operational Agreement in the afternoon of the first day of the conference. Directly following the signing, the Minister for Primary Industries, the Hon Nathan Guy closed the first day of the conference and spoke about the importance of biosecurity to New Zealand’s ongoing development, and the critical role that science plays in keeping New Zealand at the forefront of managing biosecurity risk. The Minister stressed the importance for Government of working in partnership to deliver biosecurity, with the GIA partnership a critical part of this approach.

Partnerships were an enduring theme throughout the conference, and GIA Secretariat Manager, Steve Rich spoke about GIA in 2025, as part of a panel discussion on how the science sector and delivery of biosecurity services intersect. Steve’s talk stressed that GIA is still a work in progress, therefore it was difficult to specify exactly what things will look like in 2025. However, he also acknowledged that the way biosecurity services were managed in New Zealand - including the commissioning and decommissioning of Biosecurity R&D - has already changed, with the GIA partners working together to address specific biosecurity threats and opportunities.

Better Border Biosecurity (B3) is a multi-partner, cooperative science collaboration that researches ways to reduce the entry and establishment of new plant pests and diseases in New Zealand. B3 is aligned to New Zealand's Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

This year's B3 Conference was kindly sponsored by Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT), who provided support with keynote speakers.

 

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