Survey reveals the nation’s appetite for eating insects

When it comes to eating insects, New Zealanders like them crunchy and if given a choice would opt to eat a black field cricket before other creepy-crawlies, according to a new AgResearch report that explores the nation’s appetite for insects.

The Crown Research Institute surveyed 1300 New Zealanders to assess which native insects respondents would be most likely to consume to test the market potential for each insect as a product.

The survey found participants are more likely to eat – given the choice – black field cricket nymphs and locust nymphs, followed by mānuka beetle and then huhu beetle grubs.

Participants said they would least like to consume porina caterpillars and wax moth larvae, which suggests we are more open to eating “crunchier” insects, as opposed to the softer “squishier” insects, reinforcing that texture is an important factor influencing decisions to consume insects. Continue reading

Scientists campaign to have NZ fungi on global red list

Scientists are campaigning to have endangered fungi from across Australasia included in the Global Red List of threatened species.

Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research mycologist Peter Buchanan has helped organise the first International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Global Red List Workshop on Australasia’s threatened fungi.

The workshop takes place on 22–26 July at the Melbourne Botanic Gardens.

The workshop will examine up to 100 potentially threatened species of fungi from New Zealand, Australia and New Caledonia, and evaluate their predicted survival against the international criteria set by IUCN for inclusion in the Global Red List. Continue reading

Views sought on reassessment of methyl bromide

he Environmental Protection Authority is seeking submissions on an application for the reassessment of the hazardous substance methyl bromide.
Methyl bromide is used as a fumigant in the quarantine and pre-shipment treatment of logs, produce, flowers and other goods.

The EPA’s chemical reassessment programme reviews hazardous substances already approved in New Zealand. Under New Zealand law, a chemical’s approval does not expire. Reassessment is the only formal legal process we can use to review the approval of a chemical classed as a hazardous substance.

In April 2018, the EPA decided that grounds existed for a reassessment of methyl bromide, following an application by Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction Inc (STIMBR).

Grounds to reassess were granted based on data that showed New Zealand’s use of the fumigant has increased from over 400 tonnes a year in 2010, to more than 600 tonnes in 2016. One of the criteria to meet grounds for reassessment under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act is a significant change in the quantity of substance imported into, or manufactured in, New Zealand.

Earlier this year, STIMBR applied for a reassessment of the approval for methyl bromide.
The EPA is processing this application as a modified reassessment. This means that the reassessment will only consider specific aspects of the approval, such as the required controls.

The approval to import or manufacture methyl bromide cannot be revoked in this type of reassessment.

Users of methyl bromide in New Zealand are required to recapture and safely dispose of the gas used in their fumigation activity from October 2020. The timeframe was set by the 2010 reassessment decision, to allow for the development, acquisition and installation of suitable equipment for recapture.

Submissions on the reassessment application close at 5 pm on 29 August.

 Source:  Environmental Protection Authority


Simon Shepherd interviews Agriculture Minister about agricultural emissions and biosecurity

TVNZ presenter Simon Shepherd today has questioned Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor about the government’s announcement this week on reaching an agreement with farmers that they should pay for agricultural emissions.

But there’s no agreement on how the payment should be made, Mr Shepherd notes.

One proposal says farmers should pay a 5 per cent emissions tax. Another suggests farmers themselves design the new pricing scheme.

Agricultural emissions are the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand.

But first, Mr Shepherd raised the wide-ranging review of the Biosecurity Act.

Did this mean our border control is failing us?

No, it doesn’t the Minister replied – but a lot has changed in the 26 years since the Act was passed.

A transcript of the questions and answers can be found here.

Source: TVNZ

Govt announces big changes for biosecurity and NAIT systems

Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor has unveiled significant changes to New Zealand’s biosecurity system, including new law changes to strengthen animal tracing and details of an overhaul of the Biosecurity Act.

The Mycoplasma bovis outbreak – the single biggest biosecurity event New Zealand faced – highlighted flaws in the NAIT scheme and the Biosecurity Act.,

“We’re putting that right”, Minister O’Connor says.

“We need learn from the bovis experience and have better pieces of legislation as a result of it.

“I have been working with Biosecurity New Zealand and NAIT Limited, which manages the NAIT scheme, to fix it and make sure it is fit for the future. Continue reading

R&D tax incentive changes are aimed at encouraging more businesses to invest in innovation

The Government has announced changes to its R&D Tax Incentive aimed at ensuring financial support reaches more businesses investing in new ideas.

Many businesses were investing in research and development, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods says.

But because they have yet to turn a profit – which is typical for the first few years of a new business – their access to tax credits under the Government’s $1 billion R&D scheme is limited,

“We’re turning that around, with broader cash entitlements to support eligible R&D for businesses in loss, because we know some of our most effective R&D activity is delivered by start-ups and pre-profit businesses,” Dr Woods says.

“I want New Zealand innovators to have the best possible start so they can increase their genuine investment in R&D and get out in front of their global peers.”  Continue reading

New technologies will help reduce agricultural emissions – but, for now, efficiencies remain key

New Zealand’s livestock farmers are likely to be able to employ selective breeding, methane inhibitors and perhaps even methanogen vaccines to help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions within the next five to 10 years.

In the meantime, farmers wanting to make a difference to climate change need to know what their emissions are and where they come from, so they can examine every facet of their business for efficiency improvements that can maintain profitability while reducing emissions.

That’s the message from Dr Harry Clark, Director of the New Zealand Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) and a member of the Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC), following the launch of a new website ( by the research centre.  Its aim it to equip New Zealand farmers and rural professionals with the knowledge needed to assess and manage on-farm emissions and adapt to a changing environment.

The launch of the website coincided with the Government’s signal that it will implement farm-level accounting and pricing of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. Continue reading