FREIGHT forwarders and customs brokers were challenged to “step up” and play a more proactive role in engaging all New Zealanders in biosecurity.

The challenge was thrown down at the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation of New Zealand conference in Queenstown

Biosecurity 2025 Steering Group member and chair of the Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee Graeme Marshall led the call for action.

Biosecurity 2025 is a partnership between people, organisations, Māori and central, local and regional government. Its aim is to get all New Zealanders involved in pest and disease management.

Despite the important role the sector plays in biosecurity, Mr Marshall said very few businesses are actively promoting the goals of Biosecurity 2025.


“I challenge you, do you have a biosecurity champion in your business,” he said. “Why, when you play such a huge part in the biosecurity system are you not more involved?”

Mr Marshall said industry needed to step up and be part of the governance system.

“There are many ways in which customs brokers and freight forwarders can get involved,” he said. “Upload news, have those discussions in the boardroom, sign up to the 2025 business pledge.”

Brian Lovell and Paul Golland confer. Credit: CBAFF

Roger Smith, Ministry for Primary Industries chief operations officer and head of Biosecurity New Zealand, spoke of the importance of protecting borders from incursions, but acknowledged biosecurity processing delays during the stink bug season.

Mr Smith said MPI was committed to bringing in additional staff and working more closely with its Australian counterparts.

New Zealand Customs Group manager, revenue and assurance, Richard Bargh, told the conference that NZ Customs was working to improve services.

The theme of the conference, held from 15-17 May, was ‘all things disruption’, with speakers and panels looking at a range of topics including blockchain technology, disaster recovery, attracting young people to the industry and how to stay healthy, physically and emotionally.

WiseTech Global chief executive Richard White outlined a vision of digital processing for the near future.

Mr White told the conference that Amazon and e-commerce were not the industry disruptors.

Richard White, CEO and founder of WiseTech Global. Credit: WiseTech

“It is logistics that is the disruptor, because it makes e-commerce possible,” Mr White said.

“In a truly digitally-connected world, the beginning sees the end and every point in the middle,” he said. “That is the future, it is not a long future. Straight through digital processing is what is going to happen. It is the future and it is the disruption.”

Meanwhile Glenn Coldham was re-elected as CBAFF president and Chris Edwards and Rachel Madden elected as vice presidents. Ms Madden, a branch manager with First Global Logistics, is the first female CBAFF vice president.