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Catalogue of incompetence on biosecurity

Catalogue of incompetence on biosecurity

The discovery of a black widow spider in an imported truck in Invercargill was bad enough - but the difficulty encountered trying to report the find to MAF was even worse, says National's Biosecurity spokesman, Shane Ardern.

"This incident is a huge warning to our biosecurity. The fact that the worried owner of the imported truck could only report his find to a MAF answer machine is not good enough.

"To make matters worse, when he finally made contact with MAF, he was told to freeze the spider and egg sacs found in the truck and send them to a laboratory at Lincoln.

"This is hardly an encouragement to people to respond to biosecurity breaches," says Mr Ardern.

"Despite millions of dollars being spent on attempts to eradicate the Painted Apple Moth and the Varroa Bee Mite, lessons have clearly not been learnt."

Mr Ardern says containers and imported vehicles should be fumigated at their port of entry because any breach poses a threat to our primary industries and native forests, and to New Zealanders' health.

"Cost should not be allowed to become the issue. Last week, Treasury released figures which showed an outbreak of foot and mouth could cost New Zealand more than 10-billion dollars, yet still nothing is being done to make our biosecurity borders safe," says Mr Ardern.

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