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Eradication Should Be First Choice For New Pests

Eradication Should Be First Choice For New Pests - Greens

07 March 2002

Green Party Biosecurity spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today that the discovery of the southern saltmarsh mosquito on the outskirts of Auckland shows current biosecurity policy isn't working.

"There seems to be a real reluctance amongst Government ministries to attempt eradication of new pests as soon as they're discovered. That's ridiculous, because that's the time when eradication is most likely to work.

"Of course it's important to work out exactly how far the infestation has spread first, but that should be done as quickly as possible with a view to immediate eradication when it's feasible.

"Eradication should always be explored as the first option."

Mr Ewen-Street said Auckland was under siege from new pests.

"Yesterday Auckland residents were told that the Painted Apple Moth has spread further than thought, and aerial spraying programmes might have to be extended.

"Today they find out that the southern saltmarsh mosquito, a carrier of the Ross River virus, is on their doorstep. It could not be more obvious that trying to control new pest populations just doesn't work."

Mr Ewen-Street said the argument that eradication was expensive is fatally flawed.

"A conservative estimate from the Health Ministry is that one in ten people could be infected with a mosquito-carried virus if one got established here.

"The potential health costs, productivity losses and impact on the tourism industry are mind-boggling. We have to do everything we can to make sure it doesn't happen."

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