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NZ facing serious biosecurity threat

Nov 13, 2000

NZ facing serious biosecurity threat

"New Zealand is facing a serious biosecurity threat," Green Party Biosecurity Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today.

Mr Ewen-Street was responding to news that internal audits of the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry showed management failure was putting biosecurity measures at risk.

He said a huge government emphasis on free trade, and on removing barriers to allow goods to move freely into the country, was partly responsible for the repeated breaching of our border controls.

"I have heard people in the Ministry defending our biosecurity by arguing along the lines that our border control is the best in the world, but that kind of mindset is quite dangerous in itself," Mr Ewen-Street said.

"Our native biodiversity is especially vulnerable to introductions of new pests because it has for thousands of years been protected by New Zealand's island status.

"We all know we need to have the best biosecurity in the world, but the recent breaching of our borders by scorpions, snakes, spiders, ants and moths makes me wonder whether the Ministry is justified in claiming that our border security is the best."

Ian Ewen-Street MP 03 577 7593 or 025 902 527

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