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New Zealand Open To Catching Foot And Mouth Virus

Lax border controls are leaving New Zealand wide open to the foot and mouth virus sweeping the UK, National's Biosecurity and Border Control spokesman Eric Roy says.

"Its shocking that a New Zealander who had been on a farm in Aberdeenshire, an area since confirmed to be infected with foot and mouth disease, was allowed to enter New Zealand on Monday without having her footwear checked.

"The woman declared on her customs form before she entered New Zealand at Auckland that she had been in Scotland and England, in the five days after the outbreak, but her footwear wasn't even checked.

"She was appalled she wasn't questioned about whether she had been on or to a farm in the United Kingdom, there was no bag search and apparently no audit process on people coming from those countries now grappling to control the disease.

"This lax approach to border control is putting at risk the livelihoods of New Zealanders. If the virus is allowed to enter the country it would wipe out exports from both agricultural and equestrian industries.

"If New Zealanders returning home are expressing concern about the adequacy of protection we have a problem.

"There was nothing to tell this passenger flying home of the significance of the risk. We need to educate inbound travellers about the huge significance of preventing the disease arriving here," Eric Roy said.


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