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Biosecurity Controls On Containers

Media Release
Hon Marian Hobbs
Minister for Biosecurity

16 March 2000


The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is researching the risk posed by different types of contamination found on containers and if additional safeguards should be put in place, the Minister for Biosecurity, Marian Hobbs said today.

Environmental groups are demanding immediate tougher quarantine standards following the discovery of a poisonous Australian eastern brown snake near a Petone container yard.

"We will never be able to stop all incursions of pests and unwanted organisms into New Zealand," Marian Hobbs said. "Each year 86,000 risk goods and 4500 unwanted organisms are intercepted at the border. It is a dynamic situation and MAF is re-evaluating constantly its inspection services, surveillance programmes and response capabilities.

"Every container bringing goods to New Zealand must be certified internally free of contaminated material. Containers, which arrive with no certification or with gross external contamination, are detained for inspection and cleaning if required. On top of this, five per cent of containers entering New Zealand are selected for random inspection.

"All containers originating from a country where a known hazard exists, such as Gypsy Moth, are subjected to a full six-sided inspection. Containers can be landed only at ports that have cleaning facilities."


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