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No Nonsense Approach To Biosecurity

2 March 2002

"National will take a no nonsense approach to ensuring that New Zealand's all important biosecurity is protected," Bill English told the Blue-Greens Forum in Auckland, today.

Mr English unveiled the party's Biosecurity Policy to the Blue-Greens Forum. This outlines National's strong position on defending New Zealand's environment and export earning primary industries from biosecurity threats.

"Foreign visitors who seriously and deliberately breach our biosecurity laws will be instantly deported and may subsequently be refused entry to New Zealand again."

Mr English says National doesn't apologise for wanting New Zealand to have the toughest biosecurity measures in the world.

"During the 1990s, we passed legislation that introduced fines for border incursions. While this has worked well, National is frustrated by on-going biosecurity breaches and believes in the need for this additional deterrence."

Mr English believes the weakest link in New Zealand's biosecurity regime is our surveillance and response to incursions.

"This is where the UK's biosecurity was found wanting in the wake of its disastrous foot and mouth outbreak and we must learn from this.

"Incursions must be responded to more quickly. We have emergency funds for funds and earthquakes and we should do likewise for biosecurity breaches.

"National will establish a Biosecurity Emergency Fund to ensure resources are instantly available for fast responses to biosecurity breaches. We will also undertake a comprehensive review of biosecurity surveillance systems so that incursions are detected more quickly.

Mr English says National's biosecurity policy also aims at creating better efficiencies between current border control agencies to ensure they work more effectively together in protecting New Zealand's borders.

"This will include more effective advertising to alert inbound passengers of New Zealand's unique biosecurity risks," Bill English concluded.

Ends


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