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Govt’s reckless ‘handling’ of biosecurity puts NZ at risk

David Shearer
Labour Leader

Damien O’Connor
Biosecurity Spokesperson
Primary Industries Spokesperson

28 February 2013

Government’s reckless ‘handling’ of biosecurity puts NZ at risk

A damning report that reveals New Zealand is at risk of a major biosecurity breach is the result of a Government determined to slash budgets whatever the cost, says Labour Leader David Shearer and Primary Industries and Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor.

“This Government’s slash and burn approach to biosecurity has put our entire economy at risk, from agriculture to horticulture, forestry and tourism. National’s hands-off approach to biosecurity is plain reckless. It has cut funding, slashed front-line staff and failed to properly prepare for an incursion,” said David Shearer.

“New Zealand is more dependent on biosecurity than any other developed country. Yet today we have the auditor-general telling us we are not prepared for a major biosecurity incursion, such as foot and mouth,” said Damien O’Connor.

“This Government has refused to acknowledge the importance of biosecurity from the day it came to office. In fact it has ignored warning after warning that it is not prepared to deal with biosecurity incursions,” he said.

David Shearer said Labour in Government had doubled biosecurity funding, set up Biosecurity NZ and introduced a biosecurity strategy.

“That was supposed to have been reviewed in 2010. It wasn’t.”

“The compromising of biosecurity’s ability, through its merger into a mega-ministry has resulted in lost resources and lost capability,” said Damien O’Connor.

“The Government must now give every New Zealander a reassurance that our biosecurity system will be made a priority - to protect our environment, our economy and our way of life.”

ENDS

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