Following the arrival of myrtle rust into New Zealand in May 2017, the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Department of Conservation with the help of local iwi, the nursery industry and local authorities, ran an extensive operation to attempt to contain and control myrle rust and determine the extent of its spread.
Despite the effort, the windborne nature of the disease meant that containment wasn't possible. In May 2018 management of the disease changed from intensive surveillance and the removal and destruction of host plants to long-term management.
The transition to long-term management required MPI and DOC to engage with iwi and hapū, territorial authorities, the plant and nursery industries, and communities, to support the development of regional programmes.
This research spans the changes in operational mandate and provides findings and outcomes to support future response operations as well as ongoing efforts to manage myrtle rust.
Key outcomes of this research:
Download the report: Building engagement and social licence: Research overview and recommendations
1. Unpacking social licence to operate and partnerships – developing tools for guidance and assessment
Researchers developed rubrics (assessment tools) to provide a mechanism to help biosecurity teams develop clarity around the different components that underpin SLO and engagement. These tools can guide and evaluate progress in these areas.
Indicative rubrics are presented for helping agencies plan and assess their activities to strengthen and maintain both SLO and cross-sector partnership efforts with different partner and stakeholder communities.
2. Understanding motivated networks
This research complements the focus on impacts of the myrtle response operations by interviewing those motivated to be involved.
Ten people were interviewed by phone for an hour each. Participants were largely motivated as professionals, working in a plant related sector or the public sector, but also in the not-for-profit sector, as private consultants or service contractors, and mana whenua.
Key finding include:
3. Survey of individuals impacted by myrtle rust
This research sought to understand public experience and acceptance of response operations and management options to inform future decisions on research, management and communication of biosecurity incursions.
An online survey was conducted to gather quantitative data on perceptions of risk associated with myrtle rust, its impacts and management options to understand issues of social acceptability.
Key findings include:
Download the report: Survey of individuals impacted by myrtle rust
4. The lived experience of the 2017 myrtle rust biosecurity response: A Taranaki case study
This report investigated the effects on local communities and stakeholders of the response programme undertaken following the discovery of myrtle rust in Taranaki in 2017. Data was collected through interviews and focus groups (23 individuals in total).
The report provides guidance on how to build and maintain social licence where applicable, and on how to work effectively with communities impacted in future.
While many factors contribute to trust and the social licence process, the key criteria that emerged from this case study were relationships, response to community concerns, competency, communications and procedural fairness.
It was the perceived inconsistencies in the delivery of actions within these criteria that caused the most concern for participants and which influenced their granting or revoking of social licence.
Download the report: A Taranaki case study (23 individuals)