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Biosecurity threat too big to play politics

Biosecurity threat too big to play politics

The huge threat destructive pests and diseases like the Asian gypsy moth and foot-and-mouth pose to our economy should surely be the catalyst for Helen Clark to take a lead on the woeful state of New Zealand's biosecurity, says National's Agriculture spokesman, David Carter.

"This latest threat by the Asian gypsy moth has the potential to devastate our $3 billion dollar a year forestry industry. Yet it's just the latest in a long line of seemingly unstoppable invasions, from the Varroa bee mite to the painted apple moth to aphids infesting our lettuce crops.

"The risk to New Zealand's economy is too great. With our dependence on primary production, we can't afford to have these biosecurity breaches time and time again.

"It's clear the Prime Minister has to take a stand on this issue. National is calling on her to set up a committee of senior politicians from the major parties to review Parliament's responsibility for biosecurity.

"This is not an area in which to play politics. Parliament already has a special cross-party committee to deal with issues of national security and intelligence; I believe there's a greater chance of being invaded by foot-and-mouth and the devastation that would bring, than a foreign power.

"What was once a minor irritant to our economy - first overseen by a dithering Biosecurity Minister and now by one who's rarely here because of overseas commitments - is fast becoming a major threat to our primary industry. It's time for action, and now," says Mr Carter.

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