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Second Snake Highlights Biosecurity Crisis

The Green Party is stepping up their call for tighter biosecurity controls following today's discovery of a second large snake entering New Zealand in under a week.

MAF have confirmed that an as yet unidentified snake was found in Christchurch during the unloading of a container from Indonesia earlier today. The snake was about a metre long and will be identified tomorrow.

The discovery comes hard on the heels of an eastern brown snake being found in a Petone yard last week.

Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today's discovery added more weight to Green calls for a major revamp of New Zealand's biosecurity and quarantine regulations.

Last week Jeanette asked questions in Parliament about inspection rates for containers entering New Zealand and called on the government to act on the influx of unwanted species entering the country through trade.

"The finding of this second snake highlights what is fast becoming a biosecurity crisis in this country," she said. "As I said last week, the fact that this country is not overun by a range of dangerous animals and insects has everything to do with good luck instead of good management."

Ms Fitzsimons said this discovery must force the government to face up to the fact that our border controls are woefully inadequate and that comprehensive action was required.

"We currently inspect the insides of only around five per cent of the 350,000 containers that enter this country per year. Given this appalling rate, who can say how many more snakes have successfully entered this country?" she asked.

"The Greens are stepping up their campaign to see border and quarantine controls tightened as the threat to our biosecurity posed by such poor controls are completely unacceptable.

"Our environment, our biodiversity, our health and our quality of life are directly threatened by the arrival of toxic and dangerous species. We call on the government to act immediately, before the horse - or the snake - has bolted."

Ends


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