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Biosecurity Minister Admits Loopholes

31 October 2001

Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton has admitted that there is a loophole in the inspection of vehicles at the country's wharves, National Biosecurity spokesperson Eric Roy said today.

Out of concern that yet another mosquito has been intercepted at our borders Mr Roy asked the Minister about the certification processes of vehicle shipments. Mr Sutton couldn't say how many vehicles have been shipped to New Zealand from the Japanese exporter which consigned a shipment that carried the Asian tiger mosquito discovered recently.

"This shows again that New Zealand's biosecurity and border controls are lax. We should know how many vehicles are coming into the country and where they are coming from.

"Jim Sutton goes on to admit that only vehicles that are going to be on a wharf for 12 hours or more are required to have an exterior inspection.

"Does this mean that mosquitoes don't jump off vehicles which are stationery for less than 12 hours but they do jump off those sitting on a wharf longer than that?

"Despite the Government's claims that it tightened border control after the UK foot and mouth disease outbreak it is still clear that there are loopholes which need to be rectified.

"The Government should be protecting our rural industries, the base of our economy. Loose border controls like this are not good enough," Mr Roy said.

Ends


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