Emergency response

67 MAF is the lead agency when emergencies caused by a biosecurity incursion or food safety issue arise. The Director-General of MAF is responsible for activating the National Response Centre (NRC). The roles and responsibilities of MAF are coordinated by a NRC Steering Committee (comprising the Director General and heads of NZFSA, Biosecurity NZ and MAF Policy).

68 There are distinct roles and responsibilities that need to be seamlessly integrated including:

  • MAF Policy is responsible for recovery management. This involves preparing impact assessments, advice on recovery measures and packages and liaison with Government agencies with recovery responsibilities 9 to facilitate whole-of-government approach to recovery
  • Biosecurity NZ has responsibility for disease management. This includes identifying the nature of the incursion and the options for dealing with it and initiating, and reporting on, the response to manage the incursion, and
  • NZFSA has primary responsibility for trade and food safety management. This involves liaising with trading partners to advise them of developments and avoid precipitate decisions to close international borders to NZ product as well as providing information and assurance to domestic consumers regarding any food safety issues. NZFSA's role involves close integration with Biosecurity NZ as well as key agencies involved with trade (MFAT and Customs).

69 The international aspects of the foot and mouth disease (FMD) hoax on Waiheke Island demonstrated the need in a crisis for close coordination among MAF and the two technical arms of MAF with strong overseas links (NZFSA and Biosecurity NZ). Institutional arrangements surrounding MAF and NZFSA need to ensure the seamless integration of the agencies in the event of an emergency.

9 For example, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and the Department of Internal Affairs.

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