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Biosecurity Level Needs Review

18 April 2000 PR34/2000

BIOSECURITY LEVEL NEEDS REVIEW

Federated Farmers President Alistair Polson said today that the cost and disruption wrought by the Varroa mite highlighted the fragility of New Zealand's biosecurity controls, and the need for ongoing reviews.

"The importance to New Zealand of stringent biosecurity measures cannot be understated. Biosecurity is an essential 'public good' and the Government must do everything possible to maintain high standards," commented Mr Polson.

"It is time for the Minister of Biosecurity to reassess the standards that the MAF Quarantine Service work to and so minimise the risk to New Zealand."

The federation is calling on the Government to urgently implement the instant fine system (already available within legislation) for people who carry material capable of acting as host to pests such as fruit-fly or foot and mouth disease, into the country.

Federated Farmers also wants the use of these fines in combination with a strategic education programme for New Zealanders and incoming passengers.

"Tourists and returning New Zealanders need to have brought home to them, though a mixture of education and strict enforcement, the risk their ill-considered actions pose to New Zealand," commented Mr Polson following a recent tour of port, airport and mail facilities in Auckland.

ENDS For further information: Alistair Polson 025-370-085 Tom Lambie 025-310-416 Catherine Petrey 04-473-7269


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