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Biosecurity or open door?

Shane Ardern National Biosecurity Spokesman

16 March 2003

Biosecurity or open door?

The discovery of yet another dangerous foreign mozzie in New Zealand is behind yet another demand from the National Party for the Government to tighten up on biosecurity.

"I warned the Government less than a week ago that it's border checks needed to be more rigorous and almost daily we're seeing evidence of why that should happen," says the National Party Biosecurity spokesman Shane Ardern.

He's commenting after MAF found mosquitoes blamed for a tropical disease outbreak in Cairns at the Port of Auckland last weekend - one of 20 exotic mosquito interceptions in the past five years.

"It's more luck than good management that these mosquito larvae were found at all - the more serious question is what are our border watch-dogs missing?

"New Zealand's biosecurity is woefully inadequate when it comes to checking containers from overseas and reacting to incursions when first notified.

"We've already seen seemingly unstoppable invasions by the Varroa bee mite and the painted apple moth, recently we've also discovered aphids infesting our lettuce crops.

"What was once a minor irritant to our economy, is fast becoming a major threat to our delicate agricultural balance - not to mention our health," Mr Ardern says.

"Have we learnt nothing from the painted apple moth and the astronomical costs associated with its eradication?

"Report after report has been written on the threat posed by these alien invaders, but the time's now come for action not more paperwork," says Mr Ardern.


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