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Feds Endorse Biosecurity Message

27 January 2002 PR 05/02
Feds Endorse Biosecurity Message

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Vice President Tom Lambie has applauded Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton's message that New Zealanders should not become complacent about the risk of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in New Zealand.

Mr Sutton was commenting on the OIE, the international animal health organisation, declaration that Britain is free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

"A major biosecurity breach, such as an outbreak of FMD would have a devastating effect on the whole New Zealand economy, not just agricultural exports and tourism, said Mr Lambie.

"While Britain has been declared FMD free, there are still significant parts of the world where the disease is endemic, including Asia and South America.

"New Zealand's Biosecurity systems are among the best in the world, but are under growing pressure from increased trade and international travel.

"Figures for the first six months of the instant fine regime for interception of undeclared risk material at the border reveal that New Zealanders are the largest group of offenders compared with other nationalities.

"In July 2001, 40 per cent of those fined were New Zealanders. That figure has reduced to 27 per cent, and while the improvement is positive, this level of infringement is still totally unacceptable.

"All New Zealanders have an obligation to be vigilant about biosecurity and educate overseas visitors about the dangers of bringing undeclared organic matter into New Zealand, Mr Lambie concluded.

ENDS

For more information: Tom Lambie, PH 03 614 7019 or 026 113 161 Alistair Polson, PH 025 370 085



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