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A welcome interest paid to biosecurity

Hon Jim Anderton

Progressive Party leader

29 October 2008 Media Statement

A welcome interest paid to biosecurity

It was good that the National Party is finally taking biosecurity seriously but it was a shame they were using completely mistaken assumptions, Biosecurity Minister and Progressive Leader Jim Anderton said today.

He said the responses to varroa, painted apple moth, and didymo were not delayed while waiting for Cabinet approval for funding.

"The National Party keep repeating this canard, as if saying it many times will make it true. But it's not. Any so-called delays were because of the difficulties of pinpointing the incursions and finding effective ways of tackling them, not money. Cabinet and the minister of finance have always been willing to urgently approve funding decisions for biosecurity - this is one of the benefits of working in this area with a Labour-Progressive Government that is committed to effective biosecurity.

"Since we became government in December 1999, we have continually boosted the biosecurity budget, for example, ensuring that all international airports and mail centres have 100 per cent screening. We have boosted screening of sea containers and vehicle imports.

"We take it very seriously," Jim Anderton said.

"It is ironic the National Party is claiming otherwise, when only a few years ago, their then-party leader and other MPs were criticising the Government for responding to the foot and mouth disease scare on Waiheke Island.

"We felt that while it was likely to be a hoax, it was so serious it had to be treated as real - and it was a useful test of our capabilities. National thought it should have just been swept under the carpet. Hardly responsible."


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