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Where is the immediate protection?

Jenny Shipley Leader of the Opposition

12 March 2001

Where is the immediate protection?

The Government has still failed to institute any immediate measures to reduce the risk of foot and mouth disease entering New Zealand, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today. "While Cabinet's newly announced medium-term biosecurity upgrades are welcome, the real risk exists right now."

"The Government must immediately introduce chemical footbaths to treat footwear at our borders, and it must beef up the messages shown to people as they arrive in this country.

"The risk of foot and mouth disease is real, and it is now. The Government tried to dismiss the need for any increased security, and has now caught up with reality. But they have left a window of opportunity for foot and mouth disease during which our borders remain vulnerable.

"National introduced the first x-ray machines to airports in the late 90s, and also introduced agricultural sniffer dogs, and the expansion of these border protections is a sensible move.

"But they will only begin to protect our borders against the recently increased risk of foot and mouth disease in the medium term, leaving us vulnerable in the weeks to come. That lack of immediate action is alarming and disappointing.

"It takes time to train dogs, it takes time to purchase and install x-ray machines and the new fines won't come into effect until July.

"If foot and mouth disease reaches these shores while we are waiting for dogs to be trained then the Government will have done too little too late," Jenny Shipley said.


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