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Pre-Budget Biosecurity Strategy

Comprehensive biosecurity strategy will help secure NZ from damaging animal and plant invaders, and pests

The Government is planning to seek a broad range of views on how we should be focussing our efforts to combat animal and plant invaders and pests that could pose an economic or physical threat to New Zealanders, as part of the $187 million package announced today.

Environment and Biosecurity Minister Marian Hobbs says $2.7 million of additional funding has been allocated over five years to develop a comprehensive biosecurity strategy to assess the risks to our native flora and fauna. Ms Hobbs said the new strategy would address key issues such as who should take leadership for the Government's biosecurity programme and who should be accountable. "We've had enough reminders of our vulnerability in recent years, with the discovery of the varroa bee mite, snakes, tussock moths and the seaweed undaria," Ms Hobbs said. "There will be widespread public consultation as the biosecurity strategy is developed during the next two years."

Ms Hobbs said people recognised that the state of our land-based biodiversity had been worsening under an onslaught of animal pests and weeds, and the extra $57 million allocated to control animal pests and weeds on public conservation land would help combat this. But she said the public wasn't always aware that many species and habitats under threat were also on private land and not just in parks and reserves.

Ms Hobbs said the extra $37 million allocated to boost the protection of biodiversity on private land would build on existing successful partnerships between the crown, local bodies, farmers, tangata whenua and other land owners. She said her ministerial advisory committee on biodiversity and private land is currently consulting on:
* the development of a national accord between all these parties,
* possible approaches to assist land owners and groups, (and)
* a focussed national policy statement under the Resource Management Act.
"I was pleased to find the Biodiversity Strategy's call in March this year for increased participation by private sector groups in environmental protection was echoed last week in Stockholm when I attended a conference of Environment Ministers from 100 countries," Ms Hobbs said.

ends

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