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Countdown to awareness raising Protect NZ Week


Media Release 2


Countdown to awareness raising Protect New Zealand Week begins

The second week in July has been designated as the first-ever Protect New Zealand Week as part of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the importance of biosecurity to New Zealand's future.

In officially announcing the dates for the week as 8 July to 14 July, MAF Director-General Murray Sherwin today said Protect New Zealand Week is intended to show that biosecurity has an impact on all New Zealanders.

"This is an opportunity for MAF and its partner biosecurity agencies at the Department of Conservation, Ministry of Fisheries and Ministry of Health to send out a clear message that the collective measures we take to protect New Zealand from unwanted pests and diseases have benefits for all New Zealanders.

"Because everyone has a role to play in biosecurity - from declaring risk items on entry to New Zealand, through to reporting sightings of exotic species, pest plants and animal diseases - we want the wider public to know they can make a difference too," said Mr Sherwin.

"New Zealand has had a long history of battling land pests such as rabbits and possums and we are still discovering the scale of the problem we have with marine pests around our coastline. These ongoing and costly battles involve Regional Councils, Crown Research Institutes, our primary sector industries, non-government organisations and many others. They show that the biggest worth of biosecurity is to keep pests and diseases out of New Zealand in the first place.

"Maintaining a biologically secure environment for our indigenous flora and fauna, our productive sectors and our economic mainstays of trade and travel is a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week job. I hope that through Protect New Zealand Week more people gain an understanding of the successes we have every day and of the challenges we continue to face.

Individuals and organisations with an interest in biosecurity are being encouraged to get involved in the scheduled programme by organising their own activities and registering them on the Protect New Zealand website (see www.protectnz.org.nz)

ENDS

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