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Govt creates crisis in confidence on biosecurity

Shane Ardern MP
National Party Biosecurity Spokesman

28 February 2008

Govt creates crisis in confidence on biosecurity

The latest biosecurity incursion of pest weeds into New Zealand has once again highlighted major problems with import health standards and our border controls, says National’s Biosecurity spokesman, Shane Ardern.

So far, 15 new weeds have been identified as having entered via consignments of coconut fibre imported from Sri Lanka in October 2007 for use as potting mix.

“The potential damage to our environment has yet to be identified. While immediate steps are being taken to treat imported coco peat at the border while import requirements are being tightened, the fact remains that this should not have happened.

“Once again the import health standards and border control checks have failed. And once again Jim Anderton has only acted after the damage has been done.

“The list of preventable incursions is getting longer by the day. Varroa, didymo, argentine ants, sea squirt – no wonder farmers say they are losing confidence in the Government’s ability to protect New Zealand’s primary sector and the environment.

“How many incursions we need to tolerate before we can have faith that the import health standards are upheld?

“We are under attack and this Minister has proved completely incapable of protecting our borders.”


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