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Eight-legged monster spotted by vigilant wharfies

Media Release Friday 23 January 2004 ­ For immediate release

Eight-legged monster spotted by vigilant wharfies

A large exotic spider was apprehended at the Bledisloe terminal on the Auckland waterfront today after a keen-eyed crane driver saw it crawling about on top of a container.

Maritime Union Auckland Branch Local 13 Secretary Russell Mayn says the spider was described by the wharfies who contained it as around three or more inches long.

He says MAF officials have inspected the spider and have identified it as a harmless "banana spider."

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the incident shows how tighter border controls and strong waterfront regulation are necessary for both biosecurity and worker safety.

"Incidents like this highlight the fact that there are many less dramatic looking exotic animals and insects out there which could literally destroy New Zealand¹s primary industries if they make it off the wharf."

Mr Hanson says he is concerned that "fly by night" stevedoring companies that have sprung up around New Zealand may not be treating biosecurity threats seriously enough.

"The Maritime Union has worked with MAF to educate and inform our members about the need to Œsee, contain and report¹ possible biosecurity threats."

"I can¹t imagine the deunionized, casualized workforces of some New Zealand stevedores will have any encouragement whatsoever in holding up a job for a bug, if this is going to affect their employers profit margin."


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