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Experimental Test Results Being Validated

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health,
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education,
Minister Responsible for Public Trust

Progressive Leader

10th November 2006 Press release

Experimental Test Results Being Validated

Experimental and unvalidated testing methods that indicate didymo may be in rivers in Fiordland National Park are not a reason to panic, Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton said today.

“Didymo has not been confirmed in Fiordland National Park. Several rivers were tested at the Department of Conservation’s request with an experimental method being developed under Biosecurity New Zealand’s didymo science programme delivering positive results. Re-testing of the samples has begun using standard test protocols. These results have come back negative.

“The testing was requested as part of the effort to advance its validation process. The method uses DNA, and is not ready for use in the field yet,” Jim Anderton says.

“There are a number of reasons why experimental testing can deliver invalid positive results including sample contamination and the presence of native algae.

“There is no need for panic or kneejerk reactions. We are working hard to remove the uncertainty from this situation by completing the retesting of the samples and returning to the Fiordland site to conduct further testing at source,” Jim Anderton says.

“Fiordland is an iconic part of New Zealand, and at this stage, this situation is only a warning of what could happen if all New Zealand freshwater users, regardless of location – and that includes the North Island – do not Check, Clean and Dry between waterways. While our scientists are working hard to come up with some management tools, personal responsibility is always going to be the best option we have to fight the spread of didymo and other aquatic pests,” Jim Anderton says.


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