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Farmers Welcome Biosecurity Boost

11 May 2006
Farmers Welcome Biosecurity Boost

Farmers are very supportive of the government’s increased spending on biosecurity, said Charlie Pedersen, President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

In a pre-budget announcement, the government said it would increase biosecurity spending – an extra $20 million on biosecurity response preparedness, and a further $13 million on pest management and surveillance – over the next four years.

“Biosecurity must be a key priority for any New Zealand government. There has to be adequate recognition of the real importance of biosecurity to New Zealand's competitive advantage,” said Mr Pedersen.

“When it comes to biosecurity, New Zealand’s distance from other countries works to its advantage. We are a major producer of temperate climate animals and crops well away from the pest and diseases that evolved with them.

“But increased movement of people and goods around the world means we cannot be sanguine about the threat of imported pests and diseases.

“Federated Farmers does not call for ‘Fortress New Zealand’. But we look for sensible precautions that facilitate trade and tourism while protecting our biosecurity status.

“A foot and mouth outbreak would have a very severe impact on New Zealand. According to a Reserve Bank of New Zealand report, a limited foot and mouth outbreak could cost at least 20,000 jobs, take the export sector four years to recover from, wipe $10 billion off economic activity over two years, and damage the country's reputation,” Mr Pedersen said.

ENDS

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