Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


NZ joins fight against dangerous red fire ant

The sting of the
red fire ant can be very painful.
The sting of the red fire ant can be very painful.

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

15th November 2006 Press release

New Zealand joins fight against dangerous red fire ant

Minister for Biosecurity, Jim Anderton today announced Cabinet’s approval for up to $10.96 million to be used in the fight against the imported red fire ants following their discovery at Whirinaki, in Hawkes Bay earlier this year.

“This Labour-Progressive government takes biosecurity incursions very seriously. We have increased the biosecurity baseline budget to $138 million a year, up sixty per cent from 1999 when the new government took office.

Following the discovery and destruction of the original fire ant nest in June, Biosecurity New Zealand has been working closely with the local Whirinaki community on managing the pest,” Jim Anderton said.

"It's incumbent on all of us to share the responsibility and to promote an attitude of joint care for our environment. We are custodians of our natural heritage. We need a culture among New Zealanders that supports biosecurity.

Red imported fire ants are a significant pest because they are capable of spreading across wide areas, posing a direct threat to human health, lifestyles, and our native flora and fauna. The ants are tiny (2-6mm), reddish-brown in colour and will sting to defend their nest and surrounding area if disturbed. The stings can be painful and, in rare cases, a strong allergic reaction can occur which could prove fatal.

“This pest likes to live where we live. They invade backyards, school grounds and recreation areas. If serious infestation occurs, these areas become unusable – directly affecting the much-loved lifestyle of New Zealanders,” Jim Anderton said.

“Australia has been battling red imported fire ants since 2001 and has spent in excess of AUD$175 million trying unsuccessfully to eradicate them. This illustrates the significance of this pest and why we need to act quickly.

The new funding, spread across three years, will allow for increased surveillance and eradication activities as well as improved public information.

“Areas where there is a higher chance of new nests having established have been identified and ground teams are being used to survey and lay attractant baits. Those areas that can’t be covered effectively and safely on foot, such as nearby forests, will be treated with insecticidal ant baits as a further precaution,” Jim Anderton said.

“Whilst this direct surveillance and eradication activity is important, we need all residents in the Hawke’s Bay, particularly those closest to Whirinaki, to play their part in the programme. This involves reporting any unusual insect bites and ant sightings (refer attached picture) directly to 0800 80 99 66.”

“All New Zealanders have a role to play to help protect this country from unwanted pests. We have received great support and co-operation from the Whirinaki community and their vigilance and actions have made the chances of eradicating red imported fire ants that much more achievable,” Jim Anderton said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news