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MAF briefing shows biosecurity is in a mess

MAF BRIEFING SHOWS BIOSECURITY IS IN A MESS

Shane Ardern - National Biosecurity

Despite National setting up a Biosecurity Council in 1997, this Government has failed to give Biosecurity issues the priority that it needs and deserves, Shane Ardern, National Spokesman for Biosecurity, said today.

“Papers released by the Government show that the Biosecurity Council are only now developing a strategy which will not be in place until 2010. Too little, too late.

“Our economy, health and conservation depends on New Zealand protecting its borders. Clearly this is not happening. There have been 50 new incursions of unwanted organisms discovered within New Zealand each year, and this number is increasing. Incredibly Government appropriates no baseline funding for this purpose and the department blame this on the failure to protect our borders.

“The briefing papers also highlight that there is no overall framework for priority setting and decision-making. What a mess! “The Painted Apple Moth, Varroa Bee Mite, contaminated corn seeds and the Southern salt marsh mosquito are examples of incursions poorly managed by this Government.

“Biosecurity is an issue, which affects all New Zealanders. We need an expert fast response team and a Government that can make decisions quickly.

“The briefing papers to the Minister clearly show that Biosecurity has not been given the priority it deserves.

“This Government must put aside other matters and give this urgent consideration.”

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