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Biosecurity crucial for ensuring our future

Shane Ardern
National Biosecurity Spokesman

2 October 2003

Biosecurity crucial for ensuring our nation's future

Effective biosecurity policy is the only way we can ensure for our nation's future, says National's Biosecurity spokesman Shane Ardern on the release of the Party's biosecurity discussion paper today.

"New Zealand's economic, environmental and physical health is being threatened by ever-increasing biosecurity incursions.

"The potential costs of pest and disease incursions is frightening, and with an economy based on primary production we are extremely vulnerable.

"Treasury says an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease would cost us $10 billion and at least 20,000 jobs," says Mr Ardern.

The discussion paper targets six key areas as crucial for protecting New Zealand from incursions by unwanted pests and diseases. They are:

* Increased surveillance,

* A more unified and co-ordinated approach from government departments,

* An emergency response capability,

* A programme of consultation to develop better container technology for improved access and fumigation,

* Increased public education and

* Increased fines.

The paper also underscores inadequacies in current biosecurity policies.

"The Government has not gone far enough in its belated attempts to deal with the biosecurity threat to New Zealand.

"National is committed to ensuring New Zealand has effective border control policies and an efficient biosecurity policy," says Mr Ardern.

Mr Ardern says the paper, which calls for feedback, will serve as the foundation for the National Party's biosecurity policy.

Ends

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