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"Check, Clean, Dry" campaign re-inforced

Hon Jim Anderton

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

Progressive Leader

3 December 2007 Media Statement

"Check, Clean, Dry" campaign re-inforced

The success of last summer's "Check, Clean, Dry" campaign can be attributed to the hard work and co-ordinated activity of the programme's contributing agencies, Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton said today.

New research, conducted by The Nielsen Company, indicates increasing numbers of New Zealand fresh waterway users are checking, cleaning and drying their equipment to slow the spread of didymo and any other aquatic pests.

Jim Anderton said this showed the work MAF Biosecurity New Zealand, the Department of Conservation, regional councils, Fish and Game New Zealand, and the many clubs and organisations involved with freshwater recreation had been doing had been successful in getting people to take up check, clean, dry behaviour.

The research involved interviews with one-thousand five hundred freshwater users who enter multiple freshwater ways more than four times per year. Three-quarters of users surveyed said they had taken different actions when using freshwater recreational areas to help slow the spread of didymo - a substantial increase from 29% just one year ago*.

The research showed 64% report always making an effort to check, clean, dry with a further 25% saying they make an effort some of the time.

However, the research also revealed that North Islanders (65%) perceive didymo as less of a serious threat to their region than those living in the South Island (85%). Differing rates of compliance between the two islands (North 55%, South 82%) seem to mirror the differing sense of threat.

Jim Anderton said live didymo had not yet been found in the North Island and many may consider it to be a 'South Island problem'.

"However, the recent scare in the North Island has highlighted the need for people to start checking, cleaning and drying now to best manage the pest should it arrive.

"MAF Biosecurity New Zealand and its partner organisations will continue to target high-risk activities over the upcoming summer months."

He said there had been huge buy-in of the personal responsibility message and massive support at a community level, in the South Island and on the North Island's Central Volcanic Plateau.

"Those communities know what is at stake and are to be congratulated for their efforts. It is their work that has played a major role in slowing the spread of didymo and stopping its entry into the North Island," Jim Anderton said.

*Note: Differing methodologies (2007 online, 2006 telephone) Differing sample selection (2007 targeted sampling to obtain predominately high-risk fresh waterway users, 2006 random sample included anyone who uses fresh waterways).

ENDS

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