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Greens ask: Who'll inspect the inspectors?

Greens ask: Who'll inspect the inspectors?

Green MP Ian Ewen-Street is questioning the proposed use of up to 15,000 "accredited" people to inspect containers coming into the country by sea.

"It's great that MAF has finally agreed that our biosecurity is important enough to warrant inspection of every container arriving at our ports," said Mr Ewen-Street, the Green Biosecurity spokesperson and a long-time campaigner for 100 per cent container inspection.

"The spray-sick people of West Auckland and the spray-threatened people of Hamilton might well ask why it has taken so long for full inspection to be brought in.

"I have been arguing for years that total inspection, rather than the 24 per cent inspection regime now in place, would dramatically reduce the number of pest incursions such as Painted Apple Moth, Guava Moth, Asian Gypsy Moth, Southern Saltmarsh Mosquito etc that cost us so much to eradicate and have such negative consequence for human health.

"What concerns me is that MAF appears to be going for the cheap option by planning to turn the owners, managers and staff of the devanning centres, the distribution warehouses, into the agents charged with inspecting containers.

"Given the delays and costs involved in instances where incursions are found, there is a clear conflict of interest in anyone with a commercial interest in importing being involved in inspection. The inspectors must be totally independent.

"MAF must now address the serious problem of used cars, used tyres and used agricultural machinery by conducting 100 per cent off-shore decontamination."

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