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Boost for biosecurity resources in budget

Hon Jim Sutton
Minister for Biosecurity


Boost for biosecurity resources in budget

Biosecurity measures will be boosted for the fourth year in a row by the Labour Progressive Government, Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Budget 2003 allocates $2.457 million over four years for aircraft, passenger, and mail clearance. Another $2.3 million next financial year, rising to $2.5 million for the two following financial years, has been allocated for exotic disease response capability, specifically for foot and mouth disease. Extra ongoing funding of $117,000 has been allocated for reference laboratories, and $1.2 million has been allocated next financial year for surveillance for gypsy moth, wood-boring and bark beetles, and fire ants.

In addition, the government has allocated through the cross-departmental research pool administered by MORST $170,000 in 2003-04 and $365,000 in 2004-05 to produce a national wildlife disease surveillance framework to enable the future development of strategic and prioritized wildlife surveillance systems.

Mr Sutton said the government took biosecurity extremely seriously.

“Since we became government, we have worked to fill the holes and close the gaps previous governments left in our biosecurity and border controls. Extra Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry staff have been employed, more soft-tissue x-ray machines and detector dogs have been installed in airports around the country. Instant fines for breaches have been implemented. We are still the only country in the world to screen mail, air crew and passengers and their baggage for biosecurity breaches.”

Mr Sutton said that according to an Auditor-General’s report, this government is now spending $50 million extra a year on baseline biosecurity funding than previous governments.

“Primary production is the cornerstone of the New Zealand economy, and the government is working hard to ensure our country is kept free from pests and diseases that could devastate trees, crops, and animals.”

ENDS

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