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MAF 'barely passes' in end of year report card

MAF 'barely passes' in end of year report card

Green MP Ian Ewen-Street has given the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry an overall C- in its dealing with biosecurity risks for the 2003 academic year.

"Tries hard, often disruptive, needs to plan ahead rather than deal with workload in a flurry just before (or in some cases after) deadline. Significant room for improvement, needs to learn from the errors of this year," concluded assessor Mr Ewen-Street, Green Spokesperson for Biosecurity. Full report card is attached below:

* Varroa bee mite: Realised too much work too late in the piece, and gave up without much effort. Needs to step up internal surveillance if failure is to be averted in future. Grade: F

* Australian Southern Saltmarsh Mosquito: The sole success for MAF this year, but trumpeted as if it were, by itself, enough to redeem the entire year. Success in eradication from Napier region needs to be followed up in Kaipara, Mangawhai and Whitford. Grade: A-

* Post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome: Gave up when realised easy pass was not in the offing. Minimal effort, reduced to quarantining South Island. A difficult subject with little research material to draw upon, but more effort needed to have been made to at least giving the appearance of trying to eradicate. Grade: C-

* Pine pitch canker : Sloppy work only saved by adequate quarantine procedures. Incomprehensible about-face on suitability of California, a known infected region, for import of Douglas fir seedlings. Pleasing to see California now back on prohibited list. Grade: C

* Painted apple moth: After a very slow start and falling two and a half years behind schedule, finally came on with a late burst, though it was largely misguided and highly disruptive. Grade: C

* Asian Gypsy Moth: Over-reacted to the criticism of the painted apple moth experience and repeatedly doused the residents of Hamilton with poison in attempt to kill one moth - which was already dead. Classmate OSH reports efforts to eradicate by spraying are causing health problems with wider public. Grade: C-

* Gum leaf skeletoniser: Another case of "too little too late" and the skeletoniser may well prove to be too hard a subject unless MAF can discover serious work ethic. Grade: D

* Roger's Ants: Did not seem aware that this was even part of the curriculum. Had to be informed by retired Dunedin entomologist Antony Harris that this pest, the closest colony of which is 1,000km away from New Zealand, was even present in Dunedin. Grade: D Overall grade: C-

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