Transitional Facilities and Containment Facilities

Transitional facilities and containment facilities are approved to hold and manage imported risk goods that are brought into New Zealand. Transitional facilities are generally for imported goods such as food products, things made from wood or plant material, sea containers, used machinery or vehicles, and other products that might have some associated biosecurity risk. These goods may undergo an inspection or treatment of some kind at the transitional facility before they can be “cleared” by MPI.

Containment facilities are places approved for holding organisms (plants or animals) that should not, whether for the time being or ever, become established in New Zealand. For example, zoos are containment facilities for animals. Some laboratories are also containment facilities and import micro organisms and biological products for testing which later get destroyed.

Transitional and Containment facilities operate under facility standards which detail requirements for approval.

Getting a Facility Approved

Transitional facilities and containment facilities are approved under the Biosecurity Act (1993) (offsite link to Contact your local Quarantine Inspector for information on setting up your facility. Please note the application and approval process can take up to 6 weeks.

Facility Approval Process Flowchart


The following forms are required when applying for Transitional or Containment facility and operator approval. These forms can be used for approvals under all MPI Facility Standards. Send signed and completed forms to a MPI application centre nearest you for processing (contact details on form).

Facility Operators and Accredited Persons for Sea Containers

Every approved facility must have an approved operator. This is the person who will have overall responsibility for the transitional / containment facility.

Facilities receiving sea containers must have one or more Accredited Persons (APs) available to check containers.

Information on the requirements for facility operators and Accredited Persons.

Preparing for an audit

MPI audits every approved transitional and containment facility at least once a year. When it is time for your audit a Quarantine Inspectors will contact you to arrange a suitable date.

To prepare for your audit consider the following:

  • Do you have all the correct equipment and is it correctly marked “MPI Use Only”?
  • If you are receiving sea containers is the container area still in good repair, with no cracks, and no vegetation or open drains nearby?
  • Is your MPI file up to date? It should contain copies of your operating manual, the standards the facility is approved to, any BACCs, Customs Delivery Orders, or other paperwork, and a record of all container checks carried out by an Accredited Person (if you receive sea containers).
  • Is your facility Operator still current and have they taken the required training?


To gain and maintain approval, facilities need to meet specific physical and operational requirements outlined in the MPI facilities standards. Facilities must submit an operating manual with their application that outlines how they meet these requirements. Contact your local Quarantine Inspector for information on how to apply.

For facilities receiving sea containers or general risks goods the correct standard is the Standard for General Transitional Facilities for Uncleared Goods (MPI-STD-TFGEN)


If you want to move biosecurity risk goods between MPI approved facilities (including for export), you need to submit a transfer application.

Costs and Fees

An annual facility fee is charged in addition to scheduled and unscheduled auditing/verification activities.  MPI will charge on an hourly basis for inspection, administration and travel costs for the approval and on-going monitoring of all facilities. Additional costs will be incurred if further visits are necessary. To avoid further charges, please ensure all requirements and conditions are met at the first inspection visit. Charges are based on the current Biosecurity Act 1993 (offsite link to and the Biosecurity (Costs) Regulations 2010 (offsite link to

How to pay

1. Internet banking:
Name: Ministry for Primary Industries
Bank: Westpac
Account Number: 03-0049-0001709-002
Reference: MPI Account/Client Number and (Invoice Number)

2. By phone:
Call us on 04 894 0187 with your invoice details and credit card information and we will process your payment on the spot.

Useful Links

  • Requirements for importing specific types of goods may be found in Import Health Standards.
  • For plant quarantine and containment facilities a register of operators, systems and staff is available under Approved Organisations & Suppliers.
  • If goods need to be treated at a transitional facility, you can apply for treatment supplier status and view the facility requirements. Additional information is available under Treatment and Treatment Providers.

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