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Government boosts biosecurity again

19 May 2005

Hon Jim Sutton - Minister for Biosecurity

Government boosts biosecurity again

Biosecurity funding has been boosted again, Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said that the Labour-Progressive Government had boosted baseline biosecurity funding – covering everything except incursions – every year.

"We are committed to ensuring the best possible biosecurity system for New Zealand and our actions in the past six years demonstrate that.

"We’ve introduced a $200 instant fine for biosecurity breaches at airports, something previous governments were too scared to do. We put in the extra money for soft-tissue x-ray machines and detector dog teams to make sure screening of air passengers and crews was 100 per cent. We ensured that all sea containers were screened.

"All this has been done while still enabling trade and tourism to flow at ever-increasing rates."

This year’s budget includes new funding of:
- $227,000 a year to pay for two extra dog handlers and an inspector to ensure that all courier mail is screened for potential biosecurity breaches;
- $889,000 a year for post-border pest detection in high-risk sites, improving the number and quality of detections by targeting the most probable pathways for establishment and spread;
- $1.11 million a year to continue and maintain the new organism enforcement capability;
- $450,000 a year for the next two financial years to ensure New Zealand meets World Organisation for Animal Health guidelines for BSE surveillance, including increased notification incentives to farmers and payments to veterinarians and for laboratory tests.

There is also new funding for the purchase of the National Centre for Disease Investigation at Wallaceville. Other government agencies intend to increase their involvement at the Upper Hutt site, which will become a National Centre of Biosecurity Excellence.

New Zealand's access to world-class plant genetic material will be enhanced by funding for new post-entry quarantine facilities for industry at MAF’s National Plant Pest Reference Laboratory in Auckland.

"This budget ensures that our primary industries will be able to maintain their high levels of productivity and develop new areas of opportunity and growth," Mr Sutton said.

ENDS

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