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Biosecurity ministerial advisory group appointed

10 January 2004

Biosecurity ministerial advisory group appointed

Thirteen people will form the newly-established Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee, Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton said today.

The BMAC is a stakeholder advisory committee to provide independent advice on the performance of the overall biosecurity system and monitor the implementation of the New Zealand Biosecurity Strategy.

Mr Sutton said the combined experience and networks of the 13 committee members would ensure he was well advised in key biosecurity areas including production/economy; conservation/environment; health; Maori; regional councils; science and technology; tourism; transport; and public interest.

BMAC will be chaired by Professor Mick Clout from the University of Auckland. Professor Clout has a strong science and conservation background, and was founding Chair of the World Conservation Union Invasive Species Specialist Group. He was also previously a member of the Biosecurity Council.

Mr Sutton said the establishment of BMAC fulfilled another of the expectations of the New Zealand Biosecurity Strategy.

The Biosecurity Strategy was released in August 2003, after a period of extensive consultation by the now disestablished Biosecurity Council. One of the strategy's expectations was the reconstitution of the Biosecurity Council, which only partially fulfilled the role of a fully representative stakeholder advisory committee. BMAC remedies this situation through an expanded range of stakeholders.

BMAC will not perform the role of providing an interface between regional and central government - another expectation of the Biosecurity Strategy. This role will be performed by the Central and Regional Government Forum.

Mr Sutton said he was pleased with the formation of the Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee.

"The Committee will perform an important role in New Zealand's biosecurity system and getting people with the right experience and networks was critical. I look forward to receiving their advice."

The thirteen members of BMAC are:

Mr John Aspinall
Mr Basil Chamberlain
Professor Mick Clout (Chair)
Ms Glenys Coughlan-Dunlop
Dr Stephen Goldson
Dr Barbara Hayden
Dr Virginia Hope
Ms Lorraine Stephenson
Mr Mark Leslie
Mr Stewart Milne Ms Eugenie Sage Mr Peter Silcock Mr Neil Walter

They were selected after Mr Sutton called for nominations and expressions of interest earlier this year.

Mr Sutton said the Labour-Progressive Government's commitment to biosecurity was irrefutable.

"Since becoming government in December 1999, we have allocated almost 60 per cent more funding into baseline biosecurity budgets, we have introduced $200 instant fines for biosecurity breaches, we have introduced 100 per cent screening at all airport for passengers and aircrews, as well as introducing sea container screening. Surveillance funding has also increased."

Mr Sutton said incursions would still occur because it was impossible to seal New Zealand off from the rest of the world.

"However, the measures implemented by the Labour-Progressive Government should ensure that far fewer of these incursions are able to get established here than previously was the case."

ENDS

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