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Didymo could cut hydro generation and boost prices

Shane Ardern MP - National Party Biosecurity Spokesman

21 February 2006

Didymo could cut hydro generation and boost prices

Power cuts and higher power bills could well be the result of this Government's inept handling of biosecurity, says National Biosecurity spokesman Shane Ardern.

Papers released under the Official Information Act to National show that the Biosecurity Minister made a mistake in not enforcing stricter controls around the first Didymo discovery in 2004.

"It took a year to discover that wildlife was not the biggest factor in spreading Didymo. The biggest threat was human activity, and this has led to 10 waterways now being infected.

"Didymo threatens our power stations, irrigation schemes, environment and economy. The latest news shows Didymo has been found in a tributary of the Waitaki River, and that threatens hydro dams downstream.

"Lack of resources and lack of generic incursion plans has led to what is fast becoming an invasion in the South Island. According to experts, it's only a matter of time before Didymo spreads to our North Island waterways.

"With the latest statistics showing an increase in international arrivals, up 4 per cent in 2005, the Government must take a tougher stand on our border control and must give Biosecurity NZ the funding it needs to control incursions properly.

"How much insurance is too much?"

ENDS


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