New Zealand under threat of stink bugs due to Japanese car shipments


The bedbug is more than the fact that it smells bad enough. Especially if you’re shipping cars to New Zealand from Japan and a stink bug infestation is stopping the action.

New Zealand authorities are doing their best to keep invasive alien species out of the island nation’s eccentric ecosystem and to protect their farming industry. They have enough annoying possums and rats, and bedbugs are particularly undesirable to Kiwis. The insects reproduce quickly and thanks to their resistance to pesticides, they could devour New Zealand crops.

This brings us back to cars. Three freighters, carrying new and used Japanese cars “of all makes and models” have been discovered full of stinky bugs, and it will take a long time to sort them out.
Talk to CNNDavid Vinsen, CEO of the New Zealand Import Motor Vehicle Industry Association, said he had never seen such a dire situation as this. On the freighters there are more than 10,000 vehicles, which will need to be properly handled before they are allowed to enter the country. Some 8,000 cars are still waiting to be loaded onto ships in Japan. Already, 95 percent of imported Japanese vehicles pass through approved facilities to eliminate any biohazard risk; in the future, the New Zealand government will require all used vehicles from Japan to be cleaned and inspected. The same goes for used machines.

With the import process at a standstill and no new stock on hand, the auto industry workforce will see layoffs or reduced working hours unless the problem is quickly rectified – while staff cleaning buggy cars will have their hands full. “People are concerned about their jobs,” said Vinsen, “So we need to fix this problem as quickly as possible.”

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