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National to upgrade biosecurity

Shane Ardern MP
National Party Biosecurity Spokesman

28 October 2008

National to upgrade biosecurity

A National Government will introduce a range of measures to reduce the chances of a repeat of the pest incursions of recent years, says Biosecurity spokesman Shane Ardern.

Releasing the party’s biosecurity policy, he says 333 new organisms had been found in New Zealand over the past five years, and the number of biosecurity-risk items entering our borders had increased to 157,467 last year.

“There’s no doubt we need stronger border controls, and National will make changes to do that.

“It’s essential we improve our emergency response capability.

“Painted Apple Moth, Varroa and Didymo are clear examples of the damage caused because valuable time was wasted while funding was sought from Cabinet, and National does not want to see a repeat of that.

“We must also have pest management strategies in place and vigilant surveillance before incursions become permanent residents, like Varroa and Didymo, which cost New Zealand hundreds of millions of dollars.”

National will:
• Introduce a biosecurity emergency response capability to enable swift responses to major biosecurity threats without bureaucratic hold-ups.
• Establish an Emergency Animal, Plant, Marine Disease Response Agreement to ensure rapid response to and the control and eradication or containment of animal diseases and marine incursions.
• Ensure pest management strategies are developed with input from industry before incursions take hold.
• Increase priority for surveillance, including more emphasis on marine biosecurity.


Mr Ardern says more needs to be done to deter travellers who deliberately flout New Zealand’s biosecurity laws and put our health and economy at risk.

“Last year, Biosecurity NZ issued 4,700 infringement notices to passengers arriving in New Zealand who did not declare biosecurity-risk items.

“We believe the $200 instant fine is not enough for travellers who deliberately bring in biosecurity-risk items.

National will:
• Increase the instant fine up to $1,000.
• Deport visitors who deliberately and seriously flout our biosecurity laws.


He says with more imports, it is imperative New Zealand maintains a high standard of inspection for all containers and keeps up with new technology.

“We need greater compliance, we need to update our risk profiling, and we must ensure that information is shared between the Quarantine Service and Biosecurity NZ.”

National will:
• Ensure that container inspections are thorough and technology is updated, and that used vehicle imports are subject to stringent inspections.
• Enforce the Import Health Standards for sea containers and prosecute companies that do not comply.
• Take rigorous steps to ensure that Import Health Standards for products entering New Zealand have met the required standard.
• Build up biosecurity partnerships with integrated planning which promotes inter-agency co-ordination.
• Review the 1993 Biosecurity Act so that legislation reflects modern practice and enables funding and response times to be minimal.


For National’s biosecurity policy go to: http://national.org.nz/files/2008/biosecurity_policy.pdf


ENDS

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