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Govt gambles with our future

Govt gambles with our future

The National Party is calling on the Government to explain why there's no new money for biosecurity in today's budget.

"Where's the money?" asks National Party Biosecurity spokesman Shane Ardern.

"The Budget was an ideal time for the Government to address criticisms levelled at our biosecurity measures by the Auditor General.

"Our border controls were slammed as being underfunded, disjointed and slow to respond to emergencies.

"The criticism was aimed at every level, right from the departmental level through to Government.

"It was patently clear from the Auditor General's report there was a need for more money," Mr Ardern says.

"The lack of new money for biosecurity is a not only a huge disappointment but it also throws up huge risks for New Zealand.

"Up to $25 million for customs and x-ray equipment and another $75.9m for Arts, it's overwhelming evidence of the low priority this Government has placed on biosecurity," Mr Ardern says.

"In the last six months New Zealand's seen the arrivals including the Fall webworm, Crazy Ants, the Asian Gypsy Moth, red back spiders, mosquito larvae and even a cane toad!

"The $90 million bill to eradicate the Painted Apple Moth continues to rise and yet still this Government lacks understanding and the ability to fix the problem," he says.

"New Zealand's economy could suffer by billions of dollars if we don't tighten up our borders, improve our surveillance and respond immediately to dangerous incursions.

"How much insurance is enough? How much insurance is too much? This Government is gambling with our future," says Mr Ardern.

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