NZ Biosecurity Institute Elects New President Alice McNatty
Category: National. Posted: 1 August 2019
Ms McNatty succeeds Waikato Pest Management Team Leader Darion Embling who stepped down from the role in July. Mr Embling will remain an executive member of the Institute.
Mr Embling said Ms McNatty’s experience of pest plant management and in engaging communities on the wider issue of invasive species were key qualities which secured her the presidency.
Ms McNatty said the past few years have been significant for the Institute.
“The government has announced its initiative to make New Zealand predator free by 2050, and released its guiding document for biosecurity until 2025.
“As well, the unwanted establishment of plant diseases kauri dieback and myrtle rust and the sustained control efforts to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis have tested biosecurity workers nation-wide as they have come together to manage the diseases’ further spread.
“All this on top of Institute members’ efforts to control legacy pests such as gorse, broom, rabbits and possums, among many other unwanted organisms,” she said.
“The Institute wants to engage the young people of New Zealand in what we do, and encourage the hunger and passion they have to learn how they can help to protect and enhance our natural environment. Targeting our young people is crucial. It has an immediate flow on effect through families and the community. The involvement of our young people is the critical element that we can never leave out.”
Ms McNatty said the expansive role citizen science can play in biosecurity, from gathering large amounts of data to identifying a species not yet recorded in New Zealand is also helpful to Institute members efforts
Ms McNatty was previously the NZ Biosecurity Institute’s National Secretary.
Ms McNatty said every year Institute members spend hundreds of hours controlling or managing the risks to the economy and the environment of the effects of introduced pests.
“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,” she said.
The NZ Biosecurity Institute is the professional training and networking organisation for people involved in all aspects of biosecurity including pest animal and plant management, and border control. Its members work for research organisations, educational institutions, regional councils and government departments.
All are involved in protecting NZ from invasive species.