Containment means to restrict a new organism in a secure location or facility.

Containment facilities are designed and operated to prevent the release of the organism – or its heritable material – into the wider environment.

All containment facilities must be approved and audited by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Indoor and outdoor containment for new organisms

Indoor containment means that the organism will be kept securely within a fully enclosed, 6-sided (walls, floor and roof) structure. An example of indoor containment is a laboratory or glasshouse.

Outdoor containment facilities include zoo enclosures or fenced paddocks.

Both types of containment have other physical barriers and operational procedures in place to prevent the organism and any heritable material from escaping. 

The MAF/ERMA Standards

Containment facilities must be approved to one or more of the MAF/ERMA New Zealand Standards depending upon the activities undertaken within the facility. All containment facilities are audited by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on a regular basis.

With MPI, we have set out the physical and operational requirements for a specific type of containment facility. These requirements are outlined in the MAF/ERMA New Zealand Standards.

The Standards are:

The Standards are also available from the MPI website:

Transitional & containment facilities - information for importers / users of these facilities

Transitional & containment facilities - information for facilities operators / getting approval

Physical Containment levels

Indoor containment facilities such as laboratories, glasshouses and animal facilities are approved to specific Physical Containment (PC) levels referred to as PC1, PC2, PC3 or PC4. PC1 is the least stringent level, with PC4 being the most.

These levels are arranged in order of increasing stringency of operational and structural requirements. The requirements are described in the Australian and New Zealand Standard 2243.3.

The Australian and New Zealand Standard 2243.3 – Standards New Zealand website