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Joint decision making and the Queensland Fruit Fly response

Representatives from MPI, Pipfruit NZ and Kiwifruit Vine Health recently spoke to Horticulture NZ’s NZ Grower and The Orchardist about their experiences with the Queensland fruit fly response.

Kiwifruit Vine Health and Pipfruit NZ are joint-decision makers alongside MPI in the Queensland fruit fly response. Representatives from these three Deed Signatories recently spoke to Horticulture NZ’s NZ Grower and The Orchardist about their experiences. Extracts from those interviews are reproduced here with the kind permission of Horticulture NZ.

Steve Gilbert, Acting Operations Manager, MPI

From our point of view the key difference [the GIA partnership has made to the response] is that the two GIA partners are at the table. And they are at the decision making table, they are not there for information purposes only; they have considerable input around key decisions. They have a governance role. That has gone well, but it is the first major response, so it would be fair to say I think that both parties, once we get through this response, would sit down and say what we could do better.

MPI responded quickly to the incursion, KVH and Pipfruit NZ have been fantastic in their commitment of resource, coming to the table and their level of engagement. They offered people resources, which we used at the headquarters in Auckland, in Grey Lynn, and they also provided resources at major events, like Eden Park cricket games.

Also to give credit - we are in this together - they have wanted to get people down here [Wellington] getting an idea around how we are handling some of the challenges around trade, and understanding things better. It's really good they offered those resources. This is a big response for us. We have got 180 people working on it and there's a lot going on so those resources are appreciated.

One of the key things that KVH and Pipfruit have brought in is communication with their members. They have been very, very effective about going out and messaging and then coming back and making it very clear to us at the governance table what their expectations are and this is where the members are. And I think that has been one of the positives of the GIA partnership - around defining expectations.

There is regular and extensive communication, and there have been some improvements, at the suggestion of KVH and Pipfruit, on how we communicate better and those types of scenarios. So it's gone well, but it is the first one and there are some learnings to be made.

Alan Pollard, Chief Executive, Pipfruit NZ
I am satisfied that MPI and their response partners are doing all that they can to eradicate this pest.

Having a "seat at the table" has meant that we have been kept fully informed of activities as they have unfolded, and have had an opportunity to participate in the discussions around governance of the response. As the first major response under GIA there are certainly some matters to follow up on, particularly around what being a GIA partner means to both industry and MPI, but that will come at the conclusion of the response.

We discussed providing resources to the response, particularly to map each household in the controlled area. Given accommodation constraints we ended up leaving some of our larger Auckland based businesses to liaise directly with the logistics people - I am not sure if many or any have taken that up. I am aware that kiwifruit have had an active presence on the ground in the response.

Barry O’Neil, Chief Executive, Kiwifruit Vine Health
KVH has worked closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on this response since day one. With Pipfruit NZ (another GIA partner) we form part of the Response Strategic Leadership (RSL) group taking part in daily governance and stakeholder conference calls.

As a result of being more engaged with MPI we have a much greater understanding of what risks are involved and together we are able to agree response activities to help mitigate these risks. We are also engaged with scenario planning and any potential trade impacts. Previously we were not party to this level of information.

We've been able to communicate with our industry more openly, and as a result we have a much more informed and engaged industry.

MPI's notification of the Queensland Fruit Fly discovery triggered KVH to immediately engage Kiwi Net. (Kiwi Net was established late last year and is made up of representatives from across the wider industry and is responsible for coordinating the deployment of industry resources into a biosecurity response).

Within two days of the initial notification eight people from the kiwifruit industry were on route to Auckland to assist MPI and AsureQuality in the field with trapping, monitoring and surveillance. By the following day more than 20 industry people were on the ground being inducted and trained to start work.

Up to 30 kiwifruit people at a time have been on the ground as part of the wider response team made up of around 180 people. Most of these people are working within the surveillance team which includes trapping, fruit collection and surveying.

We've had an excellent level of support and engagement from across the industry and received great feedback about the kiwifruit industry people who have been deployed.

While the need for ongoing resources and support will continue, as we move closer to harvest, providing the same level of support will likely reduce as people gear up to put all their resources into kiwifruit harvest.

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