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Check sea containers here, not there

Check sea containers here, not there

New Zealand can't rely on other countries checking sea containers for pests and diseases before closing them up and shipping them here, says National's Biosecurity spokesman, Shane Ardern.

"The risk to our primary industries, and to New Zealanders' health, is too great to hope that the containers have been properly fumigated before leaving overseas ports."

Mr Ardern is welcoming proposed new measures by MAF to reduce the biosecurity risks associated with sea containers, but says tougher action's the answer.

"Does the Government really think a $90 million price tag to check all containers is too high a price to pay, compared with the enormous risk imported pests pose to our primary industries?

"MAF's concern about the significant percentage of containers found with live organisms clearly indicates that stringent inspections are needed, not just a quick check of a quarter of the high-risk containers that arrive here.

"What research has been done on effective methods of fumigation? What work has been done on designing containers for easier checking and fumigating? What can be done to stop organisms hitch-hiking on containers?

"These are the sort of measures we need if we are to properly protect our delicate agricultural balance - and New Zealand's clean, green image. We can't rely on other countries to do it for us.

"The list of imported pests grows longer by the day because our borders controls are shamefully inadequate. We want real action from the Government, not half hearted attempts," says Mr Ardern.

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