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Embattled MPI seeks intelligence tech to beat biosecurity threats

Embattled MPI seeks intelligence tech to beat biosecurity threats

Under fire over a series of biosecurity crises, MPI seeks smarter technology for early warnings and analysis.

MPI seeks smarter biosecurity systems

MPI seeks smarter biosecurity systems

Credit: Dreamstime

The Ministry for Primary Industries is looking to technology to enhance its biosecurity intelligence capabilities. 

MPI is going to market for tools that can keep its intelligence analysts apprised of events that may be of biosecurity interest.

"As the complexities of globalisation intensify the world over, so too do the risk and ramifications of unwelcome pests and diseases that can make their way into New Zealand on host flora, fauna and assets," a tender released yesterday says.

"We want to keep MPI’s operations informed of these risks with as much certainty as science, technology and intelligence allows."

MPI has been under intense pressure after a series of biosecurity crises, the latest being the outbreak of cattle disease mycoplasma bovis. Earlier this year it lost a $450 million High Court case brought by kiwifruit growers alleging it was negligent in its handling of an outbreak of the PSA virus.

MPI says it has existing capability and tools that need to be enhanced and/or complemented to deliver the needed capability.

"The Biosecurity Intelligence Team is pioneering a blend of science and intelligence to create biosecurity intelligence products to predict risks to New Zealand’s delicate biosecurity system," it says.

"Our work is broad and dynamic, and we need tools that can power our drive to deliver quality biosecurity outcomes for all New Zealanders."

It must meet MPI and All of Government (AoG) requirements and use existing MPI technology platforms, including BI Microstrategy, GIS Esri ArcGIS Enterprise, Salesforce.

MPI's Biosecurity Intelligence Unit was established in April to give a clear line of focus and accountability for biosecurity, said minister Damien O'Connor.

Ideally, MPI wants to work with a supplier with "solid credentials and foundations in the intelligence field" and with a proven record of innovating in intelligence technology, the tender says.

"We also want the supplier to have the maturity and flexibility to partner with us in building biosecurity intelligence tools that are fit for purpose for now and into the future."

The objectives of the Biosecurity Intelligence Team Implementation Project will be to improve integration and collaboration of science and intelligence in a way that enables more efficient forecasting of biosecurity threat warning, analysis and targeting.

The project also aims to speed up the targeted collection of information against agreed triggers of early indicators and warnings and inform decision making at the border and policy and regulation.

The system will deliver early warnings of biosecurity threats, keep pace with increasingly complex threats being faced by the biosecurity system and improve how MPI identifies when and how to intervenes.

Any system should also improve science and intelligence collaboration with other agencies and research organisations.

The solution can comprise one or more elements from one or more vendors, or may be delivered as a service, and may be acquired in iterative stages.


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Tags governmentIntelligencebiosecuritylaw enforcementMPIMinistry of primary industries

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