Vine Smuggling 'Breath-Takingly Stupid' Say Greens
Green Party Biosecurity spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said alleged vine smuggling by a grapegrower was an act of breath-taking stupidity.
"You would think that industries would learn from the varroa mite that smuggling can devastate an industry, because it brings in new pests and diseases.
"The biosecurity measures at the border are there to protect grapegrowers, not punish them. Most grapegrowers act responsibly, but it just takes one or two fools to ruin it for everyone."
Mr Ewen-Street said the irresponsibility and selfishness of smugglers made him extremely angry.
"I have harped on and on about the dangers of Pierce's disease, which has partially destroyed the Californian vineyards, and its vector the Glassy Winged Sharpshooter. Finally the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has banned Californian grapes while they investigate the risks.
"Many other people are doing everything they can to keep our vineyards free of disease and pests, and to maintain our comparative advantage.
"Smuggling puts all that at risk, and the book should be thrown at the culprits if MAF comes up with a case after their investigations."