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Budget biosecurity funding a sham

Shane Ardern MP National Party Biosecurity Spokesman

23 May 2006

Budget biosecurity funding a sham

Far from boosting biosecurity by $33.2 million in the Budget, as Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton claims, Budget papers actually show funding has fallen by $5.9 million, says National Biosecurity spokesman Shane Ardern.

"Mr Anderton is clearly signalling that the Labour Government is going to be even less responsible for biosecurity incursions than before," says Mr Ardern.

"So much for speeches where the Minister stated that the Government had a vital role to play in biosecurity.

"He also signalled that the Labour Government is going to have no role in controlling some incursions whatsoever.

"There's not one cent in the Budget to help keep Didymo out of the North Island, let alone to control it in the South Island. The Minister has said that once incursions such as Didymo are established, eradication is virtually impossible.

"Treasury has estimated that Didymo will cost the country up to $285 million over eight years - yet Mr Anderton has continued to fail to grasp its significance, and worse, has failed to act responsibly.

"The other message clearly given in this Budget is that mussel farmers are on their own when it comes to keeping Sea Squirt at bay. When Mr Anderton said that a 'team effort' was needed, he meant it was up to the industry not the Government - to protect mussel farms.

"Mr Anderton might assert that the Government can't do everything itself when it comes to biosecurity, but doing nothing is a long, long way from doing everything."

ENDS

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