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Biosecurity Funding Boosted By $33.2 Million

10 May 2006

Biosecurity Funding Boosted By $33.2 Million

Budget 2006 significantly strengthens New Zealand's ability to safeguard its major export earners from pests and diseases, Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton said today.

"The Labour-Progressive government is investing an extra $20 million for major biosecurity response preparedness and $13.2 million for pest management and invasive ant species surveillance, over the next four years.

This package is part of a wider government funding boost to be announced tomorrow to protect and enhance New Zealand's unique environment.

"High profile biosecurity incidents, such as the foot and mouth hoax on Waiheke Island, show that New Zealand needs the capability to respond quickly and effectively to major threats to our primary industries, which are our major export earners.

"It is vital for our economic transformation that we have a robust biosecurity system to protect our natural advantage of freedom from pests and disease to ensure our future prosperity," Mr Anderton said.

The funding announced today continues the government's trend of significantly boosting baseline biosecurity funding every year.

Mr Anderton said biosecurity was the responsibility of all New Zealanders. To be effective, the system had to acknowledge that while some pests, such as invasive ants, might make it through the border, surveillance was an important layer of defence, as was public vigilance.

"Biosecurity is not just a matter of waving a hand at the border and saying 'Stop'. The system has to acknowledge that despite our best efforts, some pests cannot be eradicated, and will instead need to be managed," Mr Anderton said.

ENDS

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