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Plan For Foot And Mouth Must Be Publicised

MEDIA RELEASE
21 March 2001


CLEAR ACTION PLAN FOR FOOT AND MOUTH MUST BE PUBLICISED


The Insurance Council is today warning that many New Zealanders will not be insured against the effects of Foot and Mouth, should the disease take hold in this country. This could cause enormous financial strain on all New Zealanders.

The Insurance Council is calling for the Government to develop a very clear communications programme to reassure New Zealanders that all possible protections against Foot and Mouth have been put in place.

"The threat of Foot and Mouth disease could cause a disaster for the New Zealand economy. It would move beyond the primary sector very rapidly and impact on in all parts of the economy", said Insurance Council Chief Executive Chris Ryan.

The Insurance Council has asked the Government to publish the specific details of any additional protection to New Zealand's biosecurity system since the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in the United Kingdom.

"Clearly we need to know what changes have been made to protect New Zealanders since the outbreak in the United Kingdom," said Chris Ryan.

"The Government should issue the details of any additional measures now in place to protect against the introduction of Foot and Mouth. The specific details of these changes need to be communicated to the New Zealand public in the interests of clarity and professionalism," he said.

The Insurance Council believes that the publication of these measures would prevent a protracted political debate on the issue. New Zealand has always been at risk of Foot and Mouth disease. However the Insurance Council believes that because the current risk is so high, the Government should be taking extraordinary measures to ensure that New Zealand's long term economic situation is protected against the effects of Foot and Mouth disease.

For further information, please contact:
Christopher Ryan, Chief Executive
Tel (04) 472 5230

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