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New Zealand Border Security Standards Tested


4 October 2001 PR150/01

New Zealand Border Security Standards Tested

The successful interception of a contaminated forage harvester in Auckland is "a wake up call" to us all says Neil Barton, Chairman of the Grains Council of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

While the level of contamination was serious, MAF Quarantine determined that the machine could be safely cleaned and released to the owner for use on farm in New Zealand.

"The contamination found in this machine was the result of a failure of the exporting authority to correctly apply New Zealand's standards, said Mr Barton. French Officials who cleared this machine for export were negligent in failing to meet New Zealand Import Health Standards."

"It is significant that when the New Zealand owner discovered that the machine he had imported was contaminated, he went to considerable lengths to ensure that the machine could be cleaned in a secure situation.

Mr Barton has commended both the New Zealand owner and MAF Quarantine for acting quickly and decisively to manage what could well have resulted in a biosecurity breach.

"Overseas officials must adhere to New Zealand specified standards. Failure to operate according to the agreed protocols of the international Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary agreement threatens the biosecurity of all countries including France and New Zealand.

"New Zealand relies on MAF Quarantine and the intelligence of well-informed people to prevent weeds and pests from entering our country, Mr Barton said. Constant vigilance is necessary from us all."

"This incident highlights the vulnerability of New Zealand to break down in biosecurity. The successful maintenance of border security is critical to the economic and environmental well-being of all New Zealanders."

ENDS

For more information Neil Barton, Grains Council Chair 03 688 8238 or 021 441 125 Kevin Geddes, Grains Manager 03 307 8148 or 025 203 3437


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