Risks and Benefits
Val Orchard explains what considerations ERMA take into account when deciding upon applications to bring in new organisms to New Zealand.
Decision-making is a delicate balancing act. What are the two key things that ERMA must strike a balance between?
Solway College: What is the process for deciding which organisms can come into or leave the country?
Val Orchard (ERMA): People make an application, and there is a particular form of application, which asks you to list all of the risks of bringing something in, and all of the benefits. All of the information is assembled by the agency staff, and they produce a report to help guide decision-making.
What we really need to do is to balance the risks and the benefits. If the risks are really high and the benefits are really low, it’s probably not a good idea to let something into the country. If you've got a situation where you've got a fairly good balance between risks but you've got benefits as well, that is when we have to look to see if we can reduce some of those risks by having some controls in place. So for example, if we wanted to bring in an organism to work on a disease, we’ll make sure that it’s in a high-standard containment laboratory, so the chances of it escaping are negligible.
So it’s a question of balancing these risks and benefits, trying to reduce the risks, but making sure that there really are benefits for bringing something in.
- 27 November 2007
- Quicktime video
- The University of Waikato