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Biosecurity cuts = irresponsible Government

17 May 2013

Biosecurity cuts = irresponsible Government

Biosecurity border protection services have been slashed by $6 million in Budget 2013 and no amount of spin by Minister Nathan Guy will change that reality, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor, says.

“While funding for ‘border systems’ - that no doubt include the Joint Border Management System (JBMS) - has increased by $1 million, Budget documents show funding for border biosecurity, monitoring, and clearance is being cut from $97 million to $91 million.

“John Key’s ‘Smart Gate’ system already allows hundreds of thousands of visitors to walk across our border unchecked. This latest move will further reduce border security and inspection.

“The cuts are confirmed by a projection that income from fines will drop by 33 per cent - a clear admission that less identification and intervention will be happening.

“This is backed up by performance measures in the Budget that project a reduction in the number of goods that will be inspected or identified as biosecurity-risk goods at the border.

“At a time when every primary sector and conservation agency has identified biosecurity risk as the single greatest threat to the New Zealand economy and ecosystems, the National Government is cutting resources for frontline biosecurity services.

“The recent Auditor-General’s report identified a large number of deficient areas within Biosecurity New Zealand. This budget does nothing to address the most urgent of these.”

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