For members wishing to export alpaca or to learn more about what is required please refer to the Members Section - Export Forms and Resources.
This notice is to help our members understand the facts behind why Alpaca are currently blocked from being imported into New Zealand from Australia.
The reason is relatively simple. The Government agency responsible for biosecurity of New Zealand - MPI – (Ministry or Primary Industries - website can be found here: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/) have concerns that the Q-Fever test being used in Australia to test Alpaca, has not been proven to MPI as being scientifically accurate for Alpaca.
MPI has a duty to protect the biosecurity of New Zealand. New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world that does not currently have Q-Fever. (Australia does). Alpaca can catch Q-Fever and Q-Fever can be passed onto Humans.
As a result MPI NZ have blocked the importation of Alpaca from Australia and asked their counterpart in Australia, (DAFF) Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, (see website here - https://www.agriculture.gov.
Of note is that the test currently being used in Australia is essentially the same test that they use for most other mammals and has been scientifically tested and verified as accurate for animals such as goats etc, but this validation has not been done for Alpaca.
Assumptions have been made that because this test is accurate for goats it will be accurate for Alpaca. Over time it may be proven that this assumption is correct, but MPI do not accept assumptions. MPI are looking for scientifically proven, documented facts that support this assumption.
Legally MPI can only accept an application to reopen the boarders from Australia, from their counterpart in Australia (DAFF).
Once any such application is received from DAFF, the MPI will have their own scientists independently review and validate the evidence provided.
The Export Working Group and the National Council must point out that we have no ability to influence MPI’s decision in this matter, as this is a national bio-security issue and must be resolved Government to Government under current law.
The Export Working Group have:
But there is no point in making that request until DAFF have made the application.
One of our frustrations is that we have repeatedly communicated this information to Steve Ridout in his capacity within the AAA Board, but we continue to get feedback from them that the AANZ need to convince the MPI to change their mind. Clearly, we cannot.
We hope this helps you all to understand what is really going on.
Please feel free to ask more questions.
5th December 2023
NZ doesn’t have Q-Fever and that is why MPI needs to be sure that there is an accurate Q-Fever test for Camelids so it doesn’t enter NZ.
Australian exporters reported conflicting results with the ELISA and the CFT test for Q fever diagnosis and there was growing evidence that their sensitivity of the only two test options (CFT and ELISA) was not good enough for individual animal movement for camelids.
"Q fever is a widespread disease caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii, which can infect mammals, birds, reptiles and arthropods. It causes a mild disease in ruminants, but can cause abortions and still births in cattle, sheep, and goats. It is a zoonosis, a disease of animals that can infect humans. Q fever can be spread by ticks which pass the bacteria from an infected to susceptible animal, or contracted by drinking unpasteurised infected milk. First identified in Australia in 1935, Q fever has since been found worldwide, with the exception of New Zealand. Q fever is listed in the WOAH Terrestrial Animal Health Code and Member Countries and Territories are obligated to report occurrences of the disease to the WOAH according to the WOAH Terrestrial Animal Health Code". Quoted from WOAH
Full details and the zoonotic implications are in the link below.