Australian Nasties NZ Wants to Keep Out of Its Imported Vehicles

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Posted on 6th October 2015 – Shipping Vehicles


When you see some of the nasties which live in Australia, it’s no surprise that MAF are deadly serious about ensuring imported vehicles are clean.

The government’s biosecurity website lists 50 unwanted pests from Australia which they want to halt at the border – and that’s not even including Shane Warne!

And it’s not just animals and insects – mud and plant material can carry seeds and diseases which can have a real effect on our economy and landscape. Which is why Cars2NZ advises that you get your vehicle cleaned carefully – MAF will only charge you extra if they need to do any more cleaning or they find anything which needs to be destroyed.

It’s unlikely, of course, that you’ll have Warney under a hub-cap – but reading through some of the pests and critters in Australia which we’re trying to keep out, it’s not surprising the lengths we’re taking to make sure our imported cars, motorhomes and motorbikes are spotless.

Here are just some of the worst offenders:

The Asian tiger mosquito is able to spread of a number of diseases including Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, and Ross River Virus.

Australian damp wood termites first arrived on imported Australian timber and can cause structural damage to wood in any form including trees, posts, and piles and in some conditions, houses. It also attacks dead and living trees, principally eucalypt species, but is known to attack other species, including Pinus radiata.

The Australian redback spider has venom which is toxic to humans with bites causing severe pain.

Banjo frogs from Eastern Australian can exacerbate the spread of chytrid fungus which is causing a decline in many native frog species.

Black crazy ants are very common northern Australian and are regularly intercepted on imported products at the New Zealand border. They could potentially compete with some of our native species.

Cattle tick is not present in New Zealand but is found worldwide in subtropical and tropical regions, including northern Australia. It could cause serious economic effects as it damages hides, decreases productivity of stock, and carries diseases such as “Babesiosis” or “cattle fever”.

Citrus canker isn’t in NZ but is in Australia – and it is incurable. Severe infections of citrus canker may cause defoliation, dieback, severely blemished fruit, reduced fruit quality and premature fruit drop.

Equine Influenza (EI) is a major viral respiratory disease which can cause significant disease in adult horses and be fatal for foals. Until recently, Australia and New Zealand were the only two countries with significant horse populations free of it, so a recent reported outbreak in Australia is of great concern. It is a highly contagious disease that is transmitted through direct contact with horses and from contaminated items, including people, vehicles and equipment.

Mediterranean snails have become a serious agricultural pest in parts of Australia. They cause severe damage and occasionally total destruction to legume based pastures, crops such as wheat and barley and ornamental plants. Mediterranean snails would pose a huge threat to the agriculture industry if established in New Zealand, with the potential to have similar impacts as observed in Australia. Mediterranean snails would also compete with existing snail species present in New Zealand.

Myrtle rust has been identified as a threat to New Zealand. The impact of myrtle rust has been particularly severe in Australia where it affects over 200 plant species. New Zealand has a number of species in the myrtle family considered to be at risk if myrtle rust arrives, among them iconic natives such as pohutukawa, rata and manuka, but also feijoa, plantation and amenity eucalypts and numerous ornamental plants.

The painted apple moth is a voracious and indiscriminate feeder from South Australia, and defoliates plants by eating their leaves, which makes it a threat to forestry, horticulture and indigenous trees. It is known to hitchhike on shipping containers and this how it is likely to have reached New Zealand in the past.

The Queensland fruit fly is considered Australia’s most serious insect pest of fruit and vegetable crops. The species is found in the eastern areas of Queensland and New South Wales and the extreme east of Victoria. It infests more than 100 species of fruit and vegetables including avocado, citrus, feijoa, grape, peppers, persimmon, pipfruit, and summerfruit. If this fly were to establish here, it would have serious consequences for New Zealand’s horticultural industry.

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