Science Media Centre

Science Media Centre


Brown Marmorated Stink Bug – Expert Q&A

Tessa Evans posted in on March 6th, 2018.

A number of car shipments were turned away at the border last month because they were infested with Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs. The bug has spread across the globe from its original home in East Asia and is one of border security’s most wanted. The agricultural pest is not currently in the country, but MPI […]

Election 2017 – SMC science Q&A with political parties

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on August 24th, 2017.

The Science Media Centre put questions on key science-related issues to the political parties ahead of the General Election scheduled to be held on September 23. This is the fourth time the SMC has canvassed political parties on their science-related policies; you can access previous election Q&As on our website – 2008, 2011, 2014. Click […]

Kauri dieback in the Waitakere Ranges — Expert Reaction

Tessa Evans posted in on August 10th, 2017.

Auckland Council yesterday released a report stating that infection rates of kauri with dieback disease in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park have more than doubled in the last five years. The report shows that the number of kauri within the park has risen from 7.9% in 2011 (with a further 2.7% possibly infected) to 19.0% infected […]

Cattle disease found in NZ – Expert Q&A

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on July 27th, 2017.

MPI is responding to the discovery of a cattle disease on a South Canterbury farm. Mycoplasma bovis is common internationally but this is the first time it has been found in New Zealand. The SMC prepared a Q&A with an expert who has studied the disease overseas. Feel free to use these comments in your reporting. Dr Fernanda Castillo […]

Bacterial cow disease found in NZ for first time — In The News

Tessa Evans posted in on July 26th, 2017.

The bacterial disease Mycoplasma bovis has been found in New Zealand cows for the first time on a dairy farm in South Canterbury. The disease poses no threat to humans either from infection or from food safety as it cannot be passed on by consuming milk and milk products. However, cattle with the disease can […]

Weeds head for the hills as climate warms – In the News

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on July 11th, 2017.

As temperatures rise, plants head up mountainsides, with weeds spreading to higher altitudes twice as fast as their native counterparts, a new study has found. Published today in Nature Climate Change, the study examined more than 130,000 records of 1334 plant species collected over 20 years in a single range of the European Alps.  The […]

Oyster disease Bonamia ostreae – Expert Q&A

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on June 13th, 2017.

Following the discovery of the parasite Bonamia ostreae in Stewart Island oyster farms, the Ministry for Primary Industries has issued a restriction on the area and plans to remove the affected oysters. Niwa put together a Q&A with fisheries scientist Keith Michael about the parasite and the risk of it spreading further afield. What is Bonamia […]

Bluff oysters threatened by parasite – In the News

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on June 9th, 2017.

There are concerns the iconic Bluff oyster could be decimated by a parasite discovered on Stewart Island. Bonamia ostreae has been detected at two Stewart Island oyster farms, and the Ministry for Primary Industries has put restrictions on the area to limit further spread. The Ministry has been meeting with industry members in Southland and is […]

Myrtle rust discovered on Raoul Island – Expert Reaction

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on April 4th, 2017.

DOC staff on the Kermadecs’ Raoul Island have confirmed the discovery of the fungal plant disease myrtle rust on pōhutukawa trees. If it entered mainland New Zealand, the fungus could affect iconic species such as pōhutukawa, kānuka, mānuka and rātā. In a statement, MPI’s Director Readiness and Response, Geoff Gwyn, said myrtle rust spores can carry long […]

Unstable countries a biosecurity threat – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on June 15th, 2016.

New Zealand could dramatically reduce outbreaks of invasive species if it selectively chose its international trade partners, suggests new research. Reviewing almost 50,000 exotic species border interceptions from the last 10 years, Victoria University researchers have identified the types of countries most likely to be a source of imported exotic invaders. Read more about the […]

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