Compliance, enforcement and incidents

The Ministry for Primary Industries is the EPA's enforcement agency and must be contacted when a contained organism escapes from containment.

Who is the compliance and enforcement agency for new organisms?

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is the compliance and enforcement agency for new organism containment or conditional release approvals under the HSNO Act.  MPI approves containment facilities under the Biosecurity Act and checks that the controls placed on approvals are being met by the users of those approvals through audits.

Requirement to report incidents

The Environmental Protection Authority is required to monitor and report on the effectiveness of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act. One of the ways we do this is by recording and reporting on incidents involving hazardous substances and new organisms. The HSNO Act also allows us to conduct inquiries into any incident.

What is an incident?

Incidents are events that may have resulted from non-compliance with regulatory requirements and/or may have caused adverse effects to human health and safety, or the environment. Incidents involving new organisms are generally reported to the EPA by the enforcement agency, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Levels of incidents

Incidents are categorised on the severity of the effect that occurs, taking into account the nature and particular circumstance of the incident. There are five levels of incidents: Level 1 (minimal), Level 2 (minor), Level 3 (moderate), Level 4 (major), and Level 5 (massive). A Level 1 incident is one that results in little discernible effect on people or the environment, minor effect on property or some social disruption; the controls on the organisms involved (imposed under the HSNO Act) are considered to be adequate. A Level 5 incident is one that results in major damage to property, communities and the ecosystem, including species loss, multiple deaths and significant economic effects; substantial system and/or control failure is likely.

With us, MPI have set out the physical and operational requirements for a specific type of containment facility in our MAF/ERMA New Zealand Containment Standards.