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MAF borders on ridiculous with Gypsy Moths

14 April, 2004

MAF borders on ridiculous with Gypsy Moths

The discovery of Asian Gypsy Moth egg masses on an imported vehicle proves, yet again, the need for 100 per cent offshore inspection and decontamination of used vehicles, tyres and machinery, Green MP Ian Ewen-Street said today.

MAF announced today that it had discovered, and then dealt to, two Asian Gypsy Moth egg masses on an imported vehicle in the Port of Nelson.

"Good on MAF for discovering more Asian Gypsy Moth eggs - but what on earth are these devastating winged invaders doing here in the first place?" asked Mr Ewen-Street, the Green Party Biosecurity spokesperson.

"This discovery, and other recent 'triumphs' by MAF, highlights the urgent need for New Zealand to conduct its inspection and decontamination processes offshore.

"The present situation - where half of used cars are inspected here and the other half at the overseas source - is a disaster waiting to happen. It leaves the door open for the Asian Gypsy Moths and other biosecurity nasties to jump ship when they arrive on our shores.

"The Government must take action by demanding that the inspection and decontamination of all used vehicles, tyres and machinery happens on their turf at the source of origin, not ours."

Mr Ewen-Street said that biosecurity in a trading nation is a matter of managing the necessary risks while eliminating the unnecessary risks.

"Importing products and materials that have not been either inspected nor decontaminated clearly falls into the 'unnecessary risks' category. While MAF deserve recognition for finding the egg masses, the current inspection regime presents a far higher risk than New Zealand's biosecurity can afford to take.

"We've seen it before when Californian table grapes were imported into the Hawkes Bay and Marlborough regions - world famous for their grapes and the wine that results. The Glassy-Winged Sharp Shooter could have easily piggybacked on these grapes and potentially devastated the wine industry in these regions.

"It makes perfect sense to conduct all of the inspections and decontaminations offshore - so why does MAF continue to let this completely unnecessary risk continue?" asked Mr Ewen-Street.


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