CLEAN YOUR GEAR, WATCH YOUR PETS, GARDEN SAFELY
Category: National. Posted: 22 December 2022
Clean your gear, watch your pets and garden safely this holiday season.
These are three simple requests from those that look after biosecurity in New Zealand.
The call comes from the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute (NZBI) - the membership organisation for all people working to prevent or manage damage caused by invasive species.
Institute President Jono Underwood said that keeping NZ safe from unwanted organisms is complex and needs to be fought on many fronts, but the vital contribution every New Zealander can make can be summed up by adopting three very simple habits.
Keep outdoor recreation equipment clean and dry, especially boating and fishing gear.
Desex pets, particularly cats, and prevent them from roaming.
Compost garden waste onsite or dump it at a recognised facility.
Mr Underwood said many pests are spread from garden waste being dumped inappropriately, and by gardening products like compost and potting mix being moved around, as well as by people unintentionally trading possible pest plants that look great in the garden, but not so great when they take over natural ecosystems.
“We are also asking that people do not dispose of aquarium contents into any kind of waterway. Pest fish and aquatic weeds as well as turtles are causing problems in waterways due to aquariums being emptied into sewers, drains and waterways.”
Mr Underwood said kiwis can also help NZBI members in a big way by keeping an eye out for anything unusual or out of place as they get about this summer.
He said one particular pest to look for this year are wallabies outside their containment areas in South Canterbury and around Rotorua.
Any reports should be made to the local regional council or Biosecurity NZ.
“Every year NZBI members spend thousands of hours controlling or managing the risks to the economy and the environment from the effects of invasive species.”
“This is work which costs the country hundreds of millions of dollars each year through control, research and border control budgets. This money is coming out of all New Zealanders’ pockets. However, this work prevents a far greater cost to those same pockets in the future,” Mr Underwood said.